The Broncos have their first divisional battle this weekend, as they are set to face the Las Vegas Raiders. In this matchup between AFC West rivals, the Broncos look to improve to 3-1 while the Raiders seek their first win of the season.
To get you ready for the big game, we rounded up score and spread predictions from NFL analysts. As a reminder, the Raiders are favored by 2.5 points.
It's dumb to pick games based on the Raiders feeling like a 1-3 team (not 0-4) and the Broncos feeling like a 2-2 team (not 3-1). I am dumb and penciled in the Raiders to win until I realized they could be down their top three cornerbacks. Derek Carr and Russell Wilson both still look uncomfortable in their new offenses. Carr is not finding the open receivers, even when it's Davante Adams. Wilson's numbers are all at career-low rates and he's no longer adding rushing value to counteract the sacks he's taking. But Wilson clearly has the easier matchup.
Projected score: Broncos 23, Raiders 20
Fire the confetti cannons in Denver, Broncos quarterback Wilson will have his first multiple-touchdown game with the team after having just two passing touchdowns over the first three games. And while that might not move the needle on the "bold" meter in some NFL outposts, the Broncos keep saying they're close to something that resembles the offense they hoped to have when they exited the preseason. Plus, the Raiders have surrendered four pass plays of at least 30 yards in the first three games to go with five passing touchdowns by opposing quarterbacks. – Jeff Legwold
Moody's pick: Broncos 26, Raiders 17
Walder's pick: Raiders 30, Broncos 19
This is a big early AFC West game, especially for the Raiders. At 0-3, they need a victory in the worst way. They have lost some tough games. The Broncos have played well on defense, but the offense has struggled. That's the difference here. The desperate Raiders will move the ball on that Denver defense to find a way to get their first victory.
Projected score: Raiders 28, Broncos 24
The Broncos and Raiders are breaking in new offensive-minded coaches, Nathaniel Hackett and Josh McDaniels. Russell Wilson and Derek Carr have been slow to adapt and deliver in the new systems, despite having ample receiving weaponry. The play-calling isn't in sync for either QB, but Las Vegas has shown more signs of things coming together soon. Denver's defense has overachieved early and will come down to earth on the road. Desperation kicks in for Carr and the feisty Raiders and they get the win to get them back in a suddenly underachieving AFC West.
Projected score: Raiders 23, Broncos 20
The Raiders sneaked into the playoffs last season but, after spending to add Davante Adams and Chandler Jones before this season, are the only 0-3 team in the league. This may be a good week to get their first win. Las Vegas hosts the Broncos, who got a second win last week by beating the 49ers by 1 point in an unimpressive effort in which Denver punted 10 times.
Pick: Raiders -2
The only 0-3 NFL team this season, the Raiders host their AFC West rivals in the Broncos, with new coach Josh McDaniels already on the hot seat. The Raiders lead the regular-season series 68-53-2 all time and swept the Broncos last season. However, new Denver quarterback Russell Wilson is 2-0 against the Silver and Black.
Projected score: Broncos 22, Raiders 20
According to NFL Network's Ian Rapoport, starting cornerbacks Rock Ya-Sin (knee) and Nate Hobbs (concussion) are questionable to play Sunday. Broncos wideouts Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy could have a field day if they face backups.
Projected score: Raiders 23, Broncos 20
While the Broncos offense was unimpressive against the 49ers, there are some numbers that suggest Denver could get going in the weeks ahead. Through three weeks, they have converted just 14.3 percent of their red zone trips into touchdowns. … Being that bad in the red zone is unsustainable. From 2012 to 2021, no team was worse than 27 percent for a full season, and the league average over that span was 56.5 percent. Bottom line: The Broncos' red zone performance pretty much has to improve.
Pick: Raiders -2.5