NFL Free Pick | Broncos @ Raiders

Monday night marks the 120thmeeting between the Denver Broncos and the Oakland Raiders. Seven of the Broncos-Raiders games have come in a season opener.

Denver really controlled the series for most of past decade, but the Raiders have actually won four of the last seven matchups. Heading into Monday night, we finally know the fate of one Antonio Brown…and that will have an impact on our earnings potential.


Game: Denver Broncos (0-0) at Oakland Raiders (0-0)

When: 10:20 PM ET, Monday, September 9, 2019

Where: RingCentral Coliseum, Oakland, CA

Current Line: Denver -2.5  Total: 42.5

TV Coverage: ABC

Brown, of course, was acquired by Oakland in the offseason via a trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers. The seven-time Pro Bowler then repeatedly made newsreels for his behavior rather than his ability to catch a football and score touchdowns.

First was the frostbitten feet he got while sitting in a cryogenic chamber with no shoes.

Then came a delicious bowl of crybaby soup while pouting about a helmet that the NFL considered illegal to wear. Brown then went on to call Oakland GM Mike Mayock something he shouldn’t have called him and eventually asked the Raiders to release him.




After all that, Raiders head coach Jon Gruden can now breathe a sigh of relief…or can he? Now, Gruden has to figure out a way to deal with a Denver pass rush – Von Miller and Bradley Chubb – that delivered 44 sacks (eighth-best in the NFL) last year.

Gruden might feel a little better if his offensive line hadn’t surrendered 52 sacks last season. One good thing – only two of those sacks came against Denver.

On the other end, the Raiders posted the league’s 30th-ranked run defense last year. Denver RBs Philip Lindsay, a 1,000-yard rusher last year, and Royce Freeman averaged over six yards per carry against the Raiders last season.

The Broncos will also have veteran Joe Flacco under center giving Denver GM John Elway a much more solid option than his previous four quarterbacks.

Oakland is playing at home, which may help them somewhat, but they are just 4-16 SU in their last 20 games and 3-11 SU when facing AFC opponents. In the last five meetings between the two teams, the Under has hit all five times.

While the UNDER is enticing, I like the running game, defense, and experience at quarterback to be the reason why Denver covers on Monday night.

NFL Free Pick: Broncos -2.5

Pick by Rick


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About the Author

A native of Western Pennsylvania, Rick, a Generation X-er, who now lives just north of the Motor City, Detroit, Michigan. A former high school, college, and professional football player, Rick now spends his time as a high school coach and as a personal quarterback trainer. An all-state high school quarterback, he went on to become an Academic All-American at Division II Indiana University of PA. He later coached at his alma mater helping lead the program to the 1990 NCAA Division II national championship game. Rick has also served as a high school head coach and as an assistant in Pennsylvania, New York, and Michigan.

His passion for sports writing started when he was the sports editor for his high school newspaper and continued when he worked as a sportswriter for the Jamestown (New York) Post-Journal in the early 1990s. A true sports fanatic, Rick enjoys all things Pittsburgh: Steelers, Pirates, and Penguins. The Immaculate Reception, the 1979 We Are Family Pirates, and the ’91-’92 Penguins are among his favorites. After working as an educator and athletic director for several years, he again took up sports writing and has contributed to several websites and publications, including Coach & Player magazine, X & O Labs, American Football Monthly, and many others.

When not consumed with coaching, watching, thinking about, or writing about football and other seasonal sports, he finds himself working out like he was still in college and reading everything from military history to Brad Thor novels. Rick has also been chasing rock god stardom as a drummer who has played with bands that have opened for the likes of Fuel, Days of the New, and Alien Ant Farm. He continues to play with his church worship group. Most importantly, Rick is married to the love of his life, Lisa, and has two beautiful daughters.