2002 Season NFL Football Past Picks

December 22, 2002

This pick was released to clients on August 13, 2012 at 4:20PM ET.

22

Denver at Las Vegas

Sunday 12/22 04:15 PM Eastern

4 units on Las Vegas -3.5 (-110) (risk 4 to return 7.64)  RESULT: WIN

The Broncos recent tailspin started with a week ten 34-10 lashing by the Raiders. The rematch could result in one of two reactions from the Broncos: motivating revenge or stifling fear. I vote for the latter.

Rich Gannon set an NFL record for 21 straight completions (and 29 of his first 30!) against the Broncos in their first meeting. Gannon will again be facing a lackluster defense that gave up nearly 500 yards to the Chiefs last week. The Broncos have consistently shown they can’t stop good offenses this year and Oakland’s is #1 with 397.2 yards per game.

Despite a big win last week versus Kansas City, the Broncos are not a confident team right now. They were one play away from losing a game in which they had a 3rd quarter 28-10 lead.

Despite Denver’s “potential,” Oakland has the much better team. My power ratings indicate they should be giving around six points instead of 3.5. Denver’s #2 rushing defense won’t really be too much of a factor as Oakland has done their damage through the air this year.

Oakland’s strong rushing defense (#5 in the league) will most likely put the game on Griese’s shoulders and he doesn’t do well in that role. Oakland has the weapons to build an early lead and the Broncos have shown they don’t have the personnel and/or heart to mount a comeback. Given a lead, Griese is as good as they come. But he’s far from the comeback kid. The Broncos have been dismal this year coming from behind.

A loss last week to a very good Miami squad and first-place in the AFC West at stake has Oakland plenty motivated to win this week and all-but-assure a playoff berth.

Can Denver duplicate Miami’s successful aggressive defensive scheme? Don’t count on it. Denver doesn’t have the cornerbacks that can jam at the line like Miami does. Yes, Denver will come with something different than they showed last time but Oakland knows that as well. Sometimes a team just has another’s number.

I expect a pretty easy win for Oakland.

 

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