Game Overview ::
By MJohnson86 >>
- Las Vegas has been in the news for all the wrong reasons over the last week. Despite all the attention being given to the coaching change, due to the nature of the circumstances we should not expect any dramatic scheme changes to take place in the short term.
- Both teams enter this game on two game losing streaks after 3-0 starts against relatively weak schedules.
- Neither team projects to be particularly aggressive in this matchup as both teams have above average defenses and moderate offensive approaches and personnel.
How Las Vegas Will Try To Win ::
The Raiders last two weeks have been absolutely wild — even by NFL standards. Turmoil around their coach, consecutive losses, more turmoil and the firing of their coach, and now they get a road game against a division rival. No rest for the weary. Jon Gruden is out and new Head Coach Rich Bisaccia takes the reins after being the Assistant Head Coach and Special Teams Coordinator since 2018. This was a sharp move by the Raiders to go with Bisaccia as the Interim HC as it allows for maximum stability in all areas. Bisaccia will handle all of the head coaching responsibilities and, as a Special Teams Coordinator, he has had interactions with players on both sides of the ball, which will give him greater locker room rapport. Perhaps more importantly, it allows Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson and Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley to keep their focus on their current responsibilities which should lead to a relatively unchanged product on the field. The Raiders have been good yet somewhat inconsistent on both sides of the ball. This stability should keep them from completely folding going forward. Usually, when we see mid-season coaching changes, they are due to poor performance by the team and the new coach will look to shake things up as they try to make a case for the permanent job and distance themselves from how the previous coach did things. However, the Raiders are not in that situation as they sit at 3-2 and have realistic playoff aspirations.
Las Vegas should have a relatively balanced approach this week as they have turned to a more ground-based attack the last couple of weeks since the return of Josh Jacobs. The Raiders have a solid receiving corps across the board but none of their wide receivers stands out as an “Alpha” and, against a very talented Broncos secondary, they are unlikely to generate big plays or try to force their receivers to win difficult matchups. Instead, they will use their receivers in different formations and personnel groupings to stretch the Denver defense and open up the other areas they would prefer to attack. Denver plays primarily man coverage with some Cover-2 looks mixed in as well. These tendencies should give Darren Waller the opportunity to exploit mismatches against defensive backs (size) and/or linebackers (speed) when given man coverage and the opportunity to attack the seams downfield when Denver goes to their Cover-2 looks. Quarterback Derek Carr has actually been pretty aggressive throwing downfield this year so I would expect him to take a couple of strategic shots if for no other reason than to force the defense to respect it and allow them to pepper Waller with targets and use the run game and short-area passing to move the ball methodically down the field.
How Denver Will Try To Win ::
Denver plays at one of the slower paces in the league and has a league-average run-to-pass ratio. This matchup with the Raiders is pretty neutral as the Raiders rank in the middle third of the league in total defense DVOA, rush defense DVOA, and pass defense DVOA. There is no clear funnel from the Raiders defense and a usually balanced attack from the Broncos offense, meaning we can likely expect a pretty straightforward game plan from Denver.
Teddy Bridgewater likes to spread the ball around and manage the game, acting like a point guard on a basketball team. The Broncos have targeted eight or nine different players in every game so far this season, making for a broad distribution of targets even after they have sustained some injuries in the receiving corps. After opening the season throwing the ball down the field surprisingly aggressively (against the Giants, Jags, and Jets), Bridgewater and the Broncos have been more conservative for the last two weeks until the 4th quarter when it was a 2+ score game. The Raiders have only given up 10 plays over 20 yards this season (3rd fewest in the NFL), making it unlikely that Teddy starts pushing the ball downfield again unless he has to.
The Broncos should use their running game (and running backs in the passing game) a decent amount and have decent success against the Raiders defense that PFF grades as the 21st ranked run defense in the league through five weeks. The split workload makes it very difficult to project either back for a big game, but they should combine for success statistically and, more importantly to the Broncos, help them sustain drives and control the game. Once again, the likelihood of this outcome tells us the Broncos should be able to employ their preferred conservative, methodical approach in this spot and not have a pressing need to speed things up or become overly aggressive. The strength of their defense also makes it unlikely they will fall far behind the Raiders and be forced out of their comfort zone.
Likeliest Game Flow ::
Combined scores in the five Broncos games this season: 40 // 36 // 26 // 30 // 46
The Raiders have scored 23 points in their last two games and are unlikely to drive the pace and scoring in this game, making it likely that this game stays in the range of the other Broncos games so far this season (30 to 45 points). The Broncos are a solid unit on both sides of the ball and play smart, sound football by limiting turnovers, controlling field position, and limiting big plays from their opponents. Neither team plays at a fast pace as Las Vegas is right around league average in situation-neutral pace of play and Denver plays at the 4th slowest pace in the league. While the Raiders do pass the ball at a 64% rate (6th highest in the NFL), they are less likely to turn pass-heavy in this spot on the road against a very good pass rush and secondary. The Broncos are more likely to be able to generate big plays, but less likely to push the issue of making those big plays happen. All of this sets up for a relatively low play volume game environment with a low likelihood of very explosive plays that would turn up the scoring expectations.
The best case for this game to turn into something more exciting would be if Las Vegas has some early defensive lapses that give big plays to the Broncos. That is to say, this game is more likely to be triggered by blown coverages, missed tackles, or other bad plays from the Raiders than it is from the Broncos going out and making the plays themselves. This scenario would force the Raiders to turn to the air with more volume and aggressiveness.
TOP PLAYS OF THE WEEKEND
SORTABLE GREEN ZONE TOUCHES
TEAM & PLAYER DK POINTS
DFS+ Interpretation ::
By Dwprix >>
- This matchup has the second lowest total on the slate (44) w/ DEN favored by 3.5
- LV scored 32 & 37 pts in this matchup last season going 2-0
- The totals went for 63 & 49 pts
- Jon Gruden “resigned” this week & Rich Bisaccia was named interim who is their Special Teams Coordinator & Asst HC
- LV has allowed 20+ in every game except Week 2 @ PIT
- DEN only allowed 26 total pts the first three weeks facing NYG, JAX, & NYJ but 50 the last two facing BAL & PIT
- OC Greg Olson will take over play calling duties who was an OC for Carr in 2014 (his rookie year)
- Olson came back to LV from JAX with Gruden in 2018
- Carr has the third most pass attempts (205) but also has played 2 OT games
- He would have the fifth most (196) w/o the OT periods
- Carr ranks second in pass yds/g
- DK pts Weeks 5-1: 28.00 // 27.18 // 25.24 // 15.44 // 8.84
- He’s scored less and less DK pts every week since the start of the season
- Last season vs DEN: Week 17 (29.24 DK pts)-24:38:359:2 TDs:2 INTs // Week 10 (7.16 DK pts): 16:25:154:0 TDs:0 INTs
- DEN allows the second least DK pts to QBs (15.1) but has faced JAX & NYJ
- DEN pts allowed to QBs: Daniel Jones-22.38 // Trevor Lawrence-8.82 // Zach Wilson-4.60 // Lamar Jackson-22.44 // Ben Roethlisberger-17.02
- Carr has been sacked the third most (15) while DEN has the tenth most sacks (12)
- Josh Jacobs returned after missing weeks two & three & has handled 70% of RB rushes since but has failed to rush for 50+ yds
- He has seen five & five tgts the past two weeks in B2B losses
- DEN allows the third least DK pts to RBs/g (13.6)
- The only RB to break 20 DK pts vs DEN was Najee Harris last week (25.2)
- Peyton Barber missed last week but should play this week
- LV now has Jacobs, Kenyan Drake, Barber, & Jalen Richard to consider while deciding who’s active
- Target Share: Hunter Renfrow-19% // Henry Ruggs-14% // Bryan Edwards-12%
- Yds/rec:: Renfrow: 10.9 // Ruggs-20.5 // Edwards-18.2
- Ruggs is the only WR to have 100+ rec yds in a game
- No WR has 10+ tgts in a game
- DEN allows a middling 39.1 DK pts to WRs
- Waller saw 19 tgts week one
- Tgts since: 8 // 7 // 7 // 7
- The 19 tgt game was his only over 100 yds
- He has fewer rec yds in each game since week one: 45 // 50 // 54 // 65 // 105
- Bridgewater has a 7:1 TD to INT ratio
- He threw his first INT of the season last week
- Bridgewater atts: 38 // hurt in game // 25 // 34 // 36
- In four full games, Bridgewater has one 300+ yd game
- He ranks 10th in yds/att (7.9)
- Bridgewater has one 300+ yd game while DEN has allowed just one to Lamar Jackson Week 4.
- LV allows the 7th fewest DK pts to QBs (17.1)
Melvin Gordon/Javante Williams
- Gordon ($5.1k) & Williams ($5.0k) have been splitting RB work
- Gordon is questionable after missing Wednesday’s practice
- Rush Share: Gordon-46% (60 atts) // Williams-42% (54 atts)
- Gordon has 13 tgts // Williams has 12 tgts
- Gordon: 282 yds:2 TDs:4.7 yds/att // Williams: 247 yds:1 TD:4.6 yds/att
- LV allows the seventh most DK pts to RBs (26.9)
- Jerry Juedy will continue to miss a couple more weeks & KJ Hamler is out for the season
- Tim Patrick has seen increasing tgts (28) each week: 4 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 9
- Courtland Sutton leads the team in tgts (39)
- He has two games with 10+ tgts and went for 120:1 TD // 159 yds:0 TDs
- Kendall Hinton has played 26 & 39 snaps the past two weeks w/ six tgts
- LV allows the fifth least DK pts to WRs (29.7)
- Fant is second in team tgts (39), third in yds (176), & had 2 TDs
- Albert Okwuegbunam saw ten tgts in four games & was playing about half the snaps before landing on IR
- LV allows the 11th most DK pts to TEs (15.1)