Kansas City Chiefs at Denver Broncos
Kickoff: Sunday, Nov 15th 1:25 PM PDT
Spread: DEN -5.5
MoneyLine: KC +225 | DEN -200
The Broncos host Kansas City (3-5) after dropping their first contest of the season. The Chiefs are coming off a bye on the heels of dominating wins in Pittsburgh and in London against the Lions.
Andy Reid boasts his infamous 14-2 record coming off a bye, although one of those losses came two seasons ago against the Broncos.
In the first matchup of these two teams this year Kansas City dominated for most of the game before Denver (7-1) miraculously scored two touchdowns in the final minute to steal a 31-24 victory.
Key Denver Injuries
Denver’s defense will be missing some integral parts with Aqib Talib suspended for a game and DeMarcus Ware out with a back injury. Denver is 1st in Football Outsiders’ adjusted sack rate, but will miss the reborn’s Ware production. With other players missing time during last week’s loss to the Colts, the defense finally started showing some cracks.
Kansas City has regrouped after the devastating injury to Jamal Charles. After falling apart in the second half at home against Chicago in week 5, the Chiefs have put together three strong offensive performances in a row. Charcandrick West has looked more than capable as Charles’ fill-in. West has rushed for 207 yards on 42 carries with TDs in his last two games.
Chief’s Swarming Pass Rush
On defense the Chiefs lead the league in quarterback hurries with 75, 12 more than any other team. They should be able to force Peyton Manning into mistakes. With an anemic run game (Denver ranks in 31st in adjusted line yards), the Broncos will struggle to slow the Chiefs’ pass rush. Considering that Emmanuel Sanders didn’t practice on Friday and could miss the contest, this game set ups a nice spot for the Chiefs.
The Play: Chiefs +5.5
Minnesota Vikings at Oakland Raiders
Kickoff: Sunday, Nov 15th 1:05 PM PDT
Spread: OAK -3
MoneyLine: MIN +130 | OAK -150
The Vikings and Raiders square off in Oakland coming off contests that were decided in the final seconds. Minnesota was lucky to win in overtime over the Rams while the Raiders (4-4) surrendered a last second field goal to fall to the Steelers.
Inflated Win Total
Although the Vikings enter with an impressive won-loss record of 6-2, they rank 26th in FOA’s total DVOA. Of particular concern is their offense that ranks 27th in total DVOA. Despite the presence of Adrian Peterson, the run game hasn’t been productive this season, ranking 20th in run DVOA.
Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater has shown some flashes of brilliance this year, but largely has been a disappointment. Bridgewater and rookie wide receiver Stafon Diggs have established a solid chemistry, but their overall performance of the offense has been inconsistent. He ranks only 27th out of 32 quarterbacks with at least 105 passes thrown in FO’s quarterback ratings.
Bridgewater in Doubt
Bridgewater has still not officially been cleared for this game as of Friday after suffering a concussion in last week’s game. Even if Bridgewater plays, he will likely see a dip in performance one week removed from the concussion.
Meanwhile, Oakland and their high-octane passing game will be able to exploit a mediocre Vikings’ unit that ranks 22nd in total defensive DVOA. The Vikings also rank 23rd in quarterback hurries and will have difficulty holding up in coverage against wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabree.
Carr on Fire
Quarterback Derek Carr grades out as the 5th best quarterback in Pro Football Focus’ evaluations, including the highest grade of the week in his 300 yard, 4 TD performance against the stout Steelers’ defense.
Minnesota’s last trip to the West Coast was a shellacking 20-3 at the hands of impotent San Francisco 49ers. Look for the Raiders run away with this one in a similar manner.
The Play: Raiders -3
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