Battle For First In AFC West
Who’s better: the Denver Broncos (6-2 SU and ATS), or the Oakland Raiders (6-2 SU, 5-3 ATS)? Both AFC West teams have enjoyed a tremendous first half to the 2016 regular season, but the Broncos have been especially good – enough to make Sunday night’s matchup in Oakland (8:30 PM ET, NBC) a pick ’em at press time. That’s up from +1 at the open.
While the two teams are tied for the division lead, Denver has a substantially better point differential at plus-58 to Oakland’s plus-12. Only the 7-1 New England Patriots (plus-85) have a higher differential in the AFC. The defending Super Bowl champions still have one of the very best defenses in the NFL, and rookie QB Trevor Siemian (eight TDs, four INTs) has performed at roughly league-average for his position, which is better than established veterans like Cam Newton and Carson Palmer.
Siemian hasn’t outperformed David Carr (17 TDs, three INTs), though. Oakland’s third-year quarterback is having a Pro-Bowl season through Week 8, but the Raiders’ defense hasn’t been keeping up; the over is also 6-2 for Oakland thus far (4-4 for Denver), and Sunday’s total of 43.5 is one of the lowest on the NFL odds board.