NFL 2017 Week 12: Denver Broncos vs Oakland Raiders preview and prediction

Two of the most disappointing teams in the AFC face off in Week 12, can either impress?

The Denver Broncos were beaten at home by Cincinnati 20-17 last week. The Broncos blocked an early punt but weren’t able to take advantage as Brock Osweiler quickly threw an interception. The Bengals took a 13-7 lead into the half after Brandon McManus’ 61-yard field goal at the buzzer was blocked. That lead would just survive in the second half as CJ Anderson fumbled the ball and AJ Green found the endzone in the fourth.

Oakland were dominated by New England in Mexico City last week. They were in the game early, but a fumble in the redzone at the end of the second quarter killed their best chance of points and allowed the Patriots to take a 17-0 lead into the half. After that Tom Brady continued to slice up the defense as the Raiders were easily brushed aside.

Paxton Lynch

The 2016 first round pick will finally see the field this week, as Vance Joseph seems to have lost patience with the terrible situation under center and is looking to see if there is anything in Lynch to suggest they don’t need to go QB shopping in the offseason.

The chances of Lynch excelling seem slim, but the Raiders defense is arguably the worst in the NFL, so if he was ever going to show something is should be this week.

New man in charge

After yet another defensive letdown, Jack Del Rio gave defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr the boot and promoted John Pagano to the position. The Raiders are yet to pick off a pass and are allowing 367.1 yards per game (26th in NFL) and 24.7 points per game (22nd). While Pagano’s introduction as playcaller and coordinator cannot magic up a new secondary or deeper defensive line, it should create some new wrinkles for them this week against a team they would love to beat.

Is Derek Carr good?

The Raiders offense has been very disappointing this season, and while the run game is not working, the passing game has perhaps been the biggest disappointment. He came into the season after suffering a broken leg at the end of last year, and was then knocked out of the last game against Denver with a back injury, so maybe he is just playing within himself as the issues linger both in mind and body. Carr has been quick to get the ball out of his hands this year despite having a good offensive line blocking for him, and the result has been fewer touchdowns, more interceptions, and a drop of nearly a yard in adjusted yards per attempt. The Raiders need to get Carr back on track as soon as possible for the good of the franchise moving forward.

Matchup to Watch: Khalil Mack vs Allen Barbre

Last year Mack was a monster, picking up five sacks in a game against Denver as he roasted everyone who tried to block him. This year he will mostly be facing off against backup right tackle Allen Barbre, who has taken over the spot since Menelik Watson hit IR. Barbre has struggled in recent weeks and will need help dealing with Mack. The Patriots did a good job of chipping him with Rob Gronkowski last week, but will the Broncos be able to do something similar?

Fantasy Tip: Raiders RB Jalen Richard

The Broncos have a very good run defense, which means Marshawn Lynch is not going to do much, but you have to have a back in the game, and if you are passing that means Jalen Richard. The youngster is a big play threat for the Raiders and he could well break off a few big gains this week.

Betting Tip: Stay away

Neither of these teams are reliable or dependable enough to to bet on, and while Paxton Lynch might suggest the under is in play, the Raiders awful defense promotes the over… So steer clear of this game.

Prediction: Raiders 20 – 13 Broncos

The Broncos defense is not the world-beater it used to be, and while the Raiders are poor they should have enough to beat the Broncos and maybe restart their playoff push.

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Toby Durant

Deputy Editor at RealSport. A life-long gamer, I have been with RealSport since 2016 and spent time covering the world of Formula 1, NFL, and football for the site before expanding into esports.


I lead the site's coverage of motorsport titles with a particular focus on Formula 1. I also lead RealSport's Madden content while occasionally dipping my toe into Football Manager and esports coverage of Gfinity Series events.