Wes Welker No Longer A Patriot… Moves To Denver
Did you feel that? New England fans sure did after finding out that one of their favorite wide receivers, Wes Welker, will be suiting up with the Denver Broncos next season instead of the Patriots
Tom Brady has a big hole to fill after one of his favorite targets will now be playing for Peyton Manning’s team.
The Pro Bowler signed a two-year deal for $12 million.
NFL Divisional Round odds: Baltimore Ravens at Denver Broncos
The Broncos defeated the Ravens 34-17 in Week 15 in the last meeting. Chris Harris returned an interception 98 yards for a momentum-turning touchdown, and Peyton Manning threw for 204 yards and a score in his ninth consecutive win against Baltimore, the first with the Broncos. Down 10-0 late in the first half, the Ravens had a first-and-goal at the Denver 4 when Harris stepped in front of Anquan Boldin, picked off a pass by Joe Flacco and sprinted down the right sideline. Baltimore’s offense sputtered in the first half, gaining only 119 yards and committing two turnovers that led to 10 Denver points.
Knowshon Moreno averaged 5.5 yards on 21 rushes in Week 15 against the Ravens. His success running the ball helped Manning complete 8-of-11 pass attempts following a play action fake. Manning’s 53 completion percentage without a play fake in the game was his second worst of the season.
Baltimore won the only postseason game between the clubs, a 21-3 Wild Card victory in 2000 during the Ravens’ Super Bowl season. Denver, which enjoyed a first-round bye, is the conference’s No. 1 seed and has home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs. Quarterback Peyton Manning, in his first season with the Broncos, has 5,389 career postseason passing yards, the third-most in NFL history behind only Brett Favre (5,855) and Pro Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana (5,772).
“It’s an extra week to get better and an extra week to prepare,” says Manning about the team’s first-round bye. “Coach (John) Fox challenged us to improve.”
The Ravens punched their ticket to the Divisional round with a 24-9 win over Indianapolis last week. Flacco threw for 282 yards and two touchdowns against the Colts and is the only quarterback in NFL history to win a playoff game in each of his first five seasons. Flacco is 4-4 on the road in eight playoff starts. Eli Manning (five) is the only starting quarterback with more road wins in the postseason.
The Ravens held Andrew Luck to a 36 completion percentage (5-of-14) when pass rushing five or more defenders in the Wild Card round, and have allowed opponents to complete more than half of their attempts against such pressure in only two of the seven games Ray Lewis has played (7 of 10 games Lewis missed).
The Broncos are 13-3 all-time at home in the playoffs, which is tied for the second-best home playoff record (minimum of five games). The Broncos have won 11 straight games, the longest active win streak in the NFL and their longest since opening the 1998 season 13-0. They won the Super Bowl that season.
WAGERWEB.COM OPENING ODDS: Broncos -9.5 (46). Check current lines.
RAVENS NOTES: Club is 7-5 (.583) all-time on road in postseason…Have won postseason game for 5th consecutive season … Captured AFC North title for 2nd straight year … Since 2000, Bal. has 6-3 record vs. Den. (incl. postseason) … QB JOE FLACCO is 1st QB in Super Bowl era to win postseason game in each of his 1st 5 seasons. Posted 125.6 passer rating last week, highest postseason passer rating by Ravens QB in single-game. In past 3 postseason games, Flacco is 2-1 & has 6 TDs vs. 1 INT & 104 passer rating. Has 6-4 postseason record, incl. 2 AFC Championship appearances. Had career-best 3,817 passing yards in ’12, 2nd-most in season by Raven. Incl. postseason, Bal. is 30-3 (.909) when Flacco has 100+ passer rating … RB RAY RICE has averaged 102.7 scrimmage yards in 3 career regular-season games vs. Den. Totaled 117 scrimmage yards last week (70 rush, 47 receiving) in WC game. Rice (1,621) reached 1,600 scrimmage yards for 4th season in row. Led AFC RBs with 61 catches in 2012. Rookie RB BERNARD PIERCE rushed for 103 yards on 13 att. (7.9 avg.) in 1st career postseason game last week … WR TORREY SMITH averages 20.3 yards per catch in 3 career postseason games (6 receptions, 122 yards). Smith had career-best in receiving yards (855) & TDs (8) in ’12. WR ANQUAN BOLDIN (145) posted most receiving yards in postseason game in franchise history last week. Boldin’s 145 receiving yards in 2nd-half were most in 2nd-half of postseason game since HOFer JERRY RICE (157 on 1/22/89). For career in postseason, Boldin has 35 receptions for 571 yards (16.3 avg.) with 4 TDs … TE DENNIS PITTA has TD in each of past 2 playoff games. Pitta (7) tied TODD HEAP (7 in ’05) for most TD receptions by TE in franchise history this season … LB RAY LEWIS has played in 18 career postseason games (11-7, .611). Lewis had INT in only postseason meeting vs. Den. S ED REED has 8 career postseason INTs, tied for 4th-most in NFL history. S BERNARD POLLARD had team-high 98 tackles in ’12 … LB TERRELL SUGGS has 10 career postseason sacks, tied for 7th-most all-time. LB PAUL KRUGER had playoff-best 2.5 sacks last week … DT HALOTI NGATA registered at least 5 sacks for 3rd season in row … CB CARY WILLIAMS posted 1st career postseason INT last week … KR-WR JACOBY JONES ranked 1st in NFL with 30.7 KR avg. in ’12. Tied league-high with 3 kick-return TDs (2 KO, 1 PR) this season … Club had 6 players selected to 2013 Pro Bowl (KR Jones, FB VONTA LEACH, DT Ngata, S Reed, RB Rice, G MARSHAL YANDA).
BRONCOS NOTES: Have 13-3 (.813) postseason record at home … Won AFC West for 12th time & 1st time in back-to-back years since 1986-1987 … Have won 11 consecutive games, longest active streak in NFL. Became 6th team since 1970 to finish season with 11+ consecutive victories … Den. is 8-4 (.667) all-time in Divisional Playoff Games … QB PEYTON MANNING is 9-2 vs. Ravens (incl. 2-0 in postseason). Reached 4,000 passing yards (4,659) this season, extending his NFL record to 12 career 4,000-yard seasons. Passed for at least 3,000 yards in 14th season, surpassing HOFer DAN MARINO (13) for 2nd-most such seasons in NFL history (BRETT FAVRE, 18). Manning registered single-season franchise bests in passing yards (4,659), TD passes (37) & passer rating (105.8) this season. Manning’s 37 touchdown passes and 105.8 passer rating led the AFC in 2012 … RB KNOWSHON MORENO is averaging 110.8 scrimmage yards per game in past 6 starts. Moreno rushed for 115 yards on 21 carries (5.5 average) with TD in last game vs. Bal. … WR DEMARYIUS THOMAS set franchise postseason record with 204 receiving yards & became 7th player in NFL history to reach 200 receiving yards in playoff game on 1/8/12 vs. Pit. In ’12, Thomas (1,434) joined ROD SMITH (1,602 in 2000) & BRANDON LLOYD (1,448 in 2010) as only Broncos to reach 1,400 rec. yards in season. WR ERIC DECKER had 8 catches for 133 yards, incl. 51-yard TD reception in last game vs. Bal. Decker led AFC & ranked 2nd in NFL with 13 TD receptions & posted 1,064 receiving yards. Thomas & Decker are 1st Broncos duo to register 1,000+ receiving yards & 10+ TD catches in season … DE ELVIS DUMERVIL (11) reached 10+ sacks for 3rd time in career. LB VON MILLER (18.5) registered most sacks by Bronco in season since ’82 … CB CHAMP BAILEY has 2 career postseason INTs, incl. 100-yard INT-TD return on 1/14/06 vs. NE (tied for 2nd-longest return in postseason history). CB CHRIS HARRIS had 98-yard INT-return TD in last game vs. Ravens. CB TRACY PORTER has 2 career postseason INTs, incl. 74-yard INT-return TD … Club had 5 players selected to 2013 Pro Bowl (CB Bailey, T RYAN CLADY, DE Dumervil, QB Manning, LB Miller).
WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: Ravens are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 playoff road games. Ravens are 4-10-2 ATS in their last 16 games following a SU win of more than 14 points. Ravens are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Divisional Playoffs games. Broncos are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a S.U. win. Broncos are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games overall. Broncos are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. AFC. Broncos are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game. Broncos are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS win. Broncos are 6-1 ATS in their last 7 playoff home games. Favorite is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 meetings.
NFL Week 17 odds: Kansas City at Denver
Denver has won the AFC West and is currently tied with Houston for the best record in the AFC. The Broncos are in control for a first-round bye and will earn it with a victory or a New England loss. If Denver wins and Houston loses, the Broncos will clinch home-field advantage throughout the AFC playoffs.
“Our goal is just to keep winning,” says Denver wide receiver Demaryius Thomas about the team’s current 10-game winning streak. “That’s what we’ve done. We’ve won all 10 as a team. That’s all that matters.”
Denver beat Cleveland 34-12 last week. Peyton Manning finished with a season-high 339 yards passing and three touchdowns on 30-of-43 efficiency as the Broncos won their 10th straight game. Demaryius Thomas posted 102 yards and a score on nine receptions and Eric Decker added two TD receptions among his six catches for 65 yards for the Broncos (12-3), who have put together their first double-digit win streak since beginning the Super Bowl season of 1998 with 13 consecutive victories. Knowshon Moreno totaled 78 yards on 22 carries and Jacob Hester added a touchdown run as Denver kept pace with AFC South leader Houston in the race for the top seed in the conference.
Kansas City lost 20-13 to Indianapolis. Brady Quinn connected on 10-of-22 passes for 162 yards and two interceptions for the Chiefs (2-13). Jamaal Charles carried the ball 22 times for 226 yards and a touchdown for Kansas City, which racked up 507 yards of total offense. Peyton Hillis rushed for 101 yards on 15 carries.
Before the season, interior run defense was perceived to be a major weakness for the Broncos — but they have played very well. None of these guys are household names (Kevin Vickerson, Justin Bannan, Mitch Unrein, etc.), but they do an excellent job of filling the gaps and playing with good discipline. The only legitimate offensive weapon the Chiefs have is their run game, led by Charles. But if he is forced to bounce runs outside all day, chances are he’ll get bottled up. The Chiefs’ performance last week (352 rushing yards) makes this a lot more interesting and it will catch Denver’s attention.
Back on Nov. 25, Denver beat KC 17-9 as Manning threw for 285 yards and two scores.
WAGERWEB.COM OPENING ODDS: Broncos -16 (42) Check our current lines.
CHIEFS NOTES: QB BRADY QUINN spent 2 seasons (2010-11) w/ Den. Had 2 TDs vs. 0 INTs & 104.3 rating vs. Broncos on 11/6/08 with Cle. … RB JAMAAL CHARLES rushed for 226 yards, incl. an 86-yard TD last week. Has 3 TD runs of at least 80 yards this season, tied with CHRIS JOHNSON (2009 & 2012) & HOFer BARRY SANDERS (1997) for most in single season in NFL history. Needs 44 rush yards to become 3rd player in Chiefs history to reach 1,500 rush yards in season (LARRY JOHNSON & PRIEST HOLMES). Aims for 3rd straight game with 100+ rush yards vs. Den. (116, 107). Has 599 career rush yards vs. Den., most vs. any team. RB PEYTON HILLIS posted 1st 100-yard rush game of season last week (101) … WR JON BALDWIN had career-long 57-yard rec. last week … LB TAMBA HALI (9) & LB JUSTIN HOUSTON (10) aim to become 1st Chiefs duo since NEIL SMITH (11.5) & HOFer DERRICK THOMAS (11) in 1994 to each register 10+ sacks … LB DERRICK JOHNSON leads team with 119 tackles in ’12…
BRONCOS NOTES: Have won 10 consecutive games, longest active streak in NFL … QB PEYTON MANNING (4,355) needs 346 passing yards to set new career-high (4,700 in ’10). Needs 172 passing yards to surpass JAY CUTLER (4,526 in ’08) for most in season in by Bronco. Manning’s teams have reached 12 regular-season wins in 9 different seasons, most by starting QB in NFL history. Has most TD passes (34) in single season by Broncos QB … RB KNOWSHON MORENO is averaging 122.8 scrimmage yards per game in past 5 starts. For career, Moreno averages 113 scrimmage yards per game vs. KC … WR DEMARYIUS THOMAS (1,312) needs 88 rec. yards to join ROD SMITH (1,602 in 2000) & BRANDON LLOYD (1,448 in 2010) as only Broncos to reach 1,400 rec. yards in season. WR ERIC DECKER (988) & Thomas (1,312) can become 1st Bronco duo with 1,000 rec. yards each since ’04 (ROD SMITH & ASHLEY LELIE) … DE ELVIS DUMERVIL (11) reached 10+ sacks for 3rd time in career. LB VON MILLER (17.5) surpassed Dumervil (17 in ’09) last week for most sacks by Bronco in season since ’82.
WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: Under is 4-0 in the last 4 meetings. Road team is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 meetings. Underdog is 6-0 ATS in their last 6 meetings.
NFL Week 16 odds: Cleveland at Denver
The Denver Broncos control their destiny for a first-round playoff bye, but the Browns have won three of four and aren’t the pushovers they were early in the season.
The Broncos beat the Ravens 34-17 last week. Peyton Manning tossed a touchdown pass, Knowshon Moreno ran for a score and the surging Broncos won their ninth straight game. Manning, who has won each of his past nine starts against Baltimore, including two playoff meetings, threw for 204 yards on 17-of-28 efficiency for Denver (11-3), which is in the midst of its longest winning streak since the 1998 squad won their first 13 contests en route to the team’s second consecutive Super Bowl. Moreno carried the ball 22 times for 118 yards, Eric Decker caught eight passes for 133 yards and a score and Chris Harris returned an interception 98 yards for a touchdown in the triumph.
Cleveland lost 38-21 to Washington. Trent Richardson ran for two scores to set a new franchise record for rookie rushing touchdowns in a season, but only amassed 28 yards on 11 carries as Cleveland (5-9) was denied a chance at its first four-game winning streak since 2009. Brandon Weeden threw for 244 yards and a touchdown, but added two second-half interceptions. He completed 21-of-35 passes in the setback.
The Broncos have been amazingly stingy versus opposing running backs lately, but it is imperative for the Browns to get Richardson going. They need to control the tempo using their star rookie back. Richardson is also getting a lot of targets in the passing game and is very solid in this capacity as well. Still, he rushed for only 28 yards against Washington last week and was unhappy with his workload. Expect Richardson to see a lot of touches in Denver.
WAGERWEB.COM OPENING ODDS: Broncos -13 (44.5) Check current lines
BROWNS NOTES: QB BRANDON WEEDEN (5) has most wins ever by Browns rookie QB. Weeden (3,281) has most pass yards by rookie in club history & has 2nd-most among NFL rookies in ’12 (ANDREW LUCK, 3,978). Has 9 TDs & 87.7 rating on road … RB TRENT RICHARDSON (11) had 2 rush TDs last week & surpassed HOFer JIM BROWN (9 in 1957) for most rush TDs by Browns rookie. Has 3 games with 100+ rush yards, tied for most ever by Browns rookie. Leads AFC rookies with 897 rush yards & needs 46 to surpass Brown (942) for most rush yards by Browns rookie. Aims for 5th consecutive game with rush TD … WR JOSH GORDON leads NFL rookies in rec. yards (759). Rookie WR TRAVIS BENJAMIN had career-long 69-yard TD catch last week … LB D’QWELL JACKSON has team-high 106 tackles…S T.J. WARD posted 1st INT of season last week … DE JABAAL SHEARD aims for 3rd straight with sack…K PHIL DAWSON has made 26 of 27 FGs in 2012, tied for 2nd-best pct. in NFL.
BRONCOS NOTES: Captured AFC West title for 2nd consecutive season. Have won 9 consecutive games, longest active streak in NFL…At home in ’12, QB PEYTON MANNING has 16 TDs vs. 2 INTs & 109 passer rating. Manning (4,016) is 1st player in NFL history with 12 4,000-yard seasons & is the 5th player in NFL history to pass for 4,000 yards with 2 different teams. Manning has 5-0 career record vs. Browns. Manning (31) has most TD passes in single season by Broncos QB … RB KNOWSHON MORENO is averaging 121.8 scrimmage yards per game in past 4. Aims for 3rd consecutive game with 100+ rush yards … WR DEMARYIUS THOMAS has 5 TD rec. in 6 home games in 2012. WR ERIC DECKER (923) & Thomas (1,210) can become 1st Bronco duo with 1,000 rec. yards each since ’04 (ROD SMITH & ASHLEY LELIE). Decker has 16 catches for 221 yards with TD in past 2 … DE ELVIS DUMERVIL (9) needs sack to reach 10 for 3rd time in career. Had career-best 4 sacks vs. Browns on 9/20/09. LB VON MILLER has 6 sacks in 6 home games in ’12. Miller (16) needs 1.5 sacks to set single-season club record (Dumervil, 17 in ’09) … CB CHRIS HARRIS had 98-yard INT-return TD last week, longest INT-return TD in Broncos history.
WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: Browns are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a S.U. loss. Browns are 7-0 ATS in their last 7 games following a ATS loss. Browns are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a SU loss of more than 14 points. Browns are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game. Browns are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games in December. Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game. Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games following a ATS win. Broncos are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games after accumulating more than 150 yards rushing in their previous game. Broncos are 5-2 ATS vs. a team with a losing record.
NFL Week 15 odds: Denver at Baltimore
The loser of Sunday’s game in Baltimore can probably forget about a first-round playoff bye as the Broncos visit the Ravens. The Broncos have already clinched the AFC West and the Ravens can secure the AFC North with a win. Both teams are vying for a first-round bye in the postseason. Denver has won eight consecutive games, the longest current streak in the NFL. Baltimore has a 5-1 record at home, tied for the second-best mark in the AFC this season.
Peyton Manning has been stellar in his first season with Denver, throwing for an AFC-best 30 touchdowns with a 104.0 passer rating that ranks fourth in the NFL while guiding the Broncos (10-3) to the AFC West title. He finished 26 of 36 for 310 yards and a touchdown Dec. 6 in a 26-13 win at Oakland to give the team its longest winning streak since the 1998 John Elway-led Broncos won their first 13 games en route to their second straight Super Bowl.
The Ravens enter on a two-game skid after falling 31-28 in overtime at Washington last Sunday. They also lost 23-20 on Dec. 2 when Pittsburgh kicked a field goal as time expired to end Baltimore’s 16-game home winning streak. The Ravens’ last home loss to anyone other than the Steelers was to Manning and the Colts on Nov. 22, 2009.
With four turnovers in the past two weeks and the offense sputtering at 344.4 yards per game — 18th in the NFL — the Ravens fired offensive coordinator Cam Cameron and replaced him with Jim Caldwell. QB Joe Flacco has overthrown his receivers for an incompletion on 18.6 percent of his attempts this season, the highest rate in the NFL. No receiver on the Ravens has been overthrown more than Torrey Smith, who has seen 28.4 percent of his targets sail over his head.
Few NFL quarterbacks are better at using their eyes to take defenders away from where the ball is going than Manning. This skill is going to be even more important as he faces a ball-hawking safety like Ed Reed, who is a master when it comes to reading the quarterback from a deep zone coverage. Manning is going to want to know just where Reed is lined up on each play and then try to look him off when challenging the Ravens on deep routes.
Manning lost his first two career starts against the Ravens, but since 2002, Manning is a perfect 8-0 against Baltimore, including two playoff wins. Among those 8 wins, five are by double-digits and he’s only been sacked a total of 10 times in those 8 wins.
WAGERWEB.COM OPENING LINE: Broncos -3 (48). Check current lines
BRONCOS NOTES: Captured AFC West title for 2nd consecutive season. Have won 8 consecutive games, longest active streak in NFL … QB PEYTON MANNING (3,812) needs 188 passing yards to become 1st player in NFL history with 12 4,000-yard seasons. Incl. postseason, Manning is 8-2 vs. Ravens with 19 TDs & 96.3 passer rating. Manning (30) has most TD passes in single season by Broncos QB. Posted 70th career 300-yard passing game of career last week, most in NFL history … RB KNOWSHON MORENO posted season-best 167 scrimmage yards last week. Moreno is averaging 120.3 scrimmage yards/game in past 3 starts … WR DEMARYIUS THOMAS is averaging 96 rec. yards per game on road in ’12. WR ERIC DECKER has career-best in receptions (64) & receiving yards (790) in 2012 … DE ELVIS DUMERVIL (8) needs 2 sacks to reach 10 for 3rd time in career. LB VON MILLER aims for 7th consecutive game with sack. Miller (16) needs 1.5 sacks to set single-season club record (Dumervil, 17 in ’09) … CB CHAMP BAILEY posted 52nd career INT last week, 2nd-most among active players since ‘99 (ED REED, 61).
RAVENS NOTES: Aim for 3rd season in row with 10 wins … Club is 4-0 all-time at home vs. Den…Ravens have won 15 of past 16 at home … QB JOE FLACCO has 2-0 record vs. Den. Flacco is 32-6 (.842) in home starts, 5th-best record by starting QB since 1970 (min. 20 starts). Flacco (98) needs 2 pass TDs to reach 100 career … RB RAY RICE totaled 133 rush yards with 2 TDs in last game vs. Den. Rice (1,417) needs 83 scrimmage yards to reach 1,500 for 4th consecutive season. Rushed for season-best 121 yards last week … WR TORREY SMITH (93) needs 7 catches to register 100 career. Smith (753) needs 89 receiving yards to surpass rec. yards total (841) as rookie last season. WR ANQUAN BOLDIN (10,072) reached 10,000 career rec. yards last week. Has 3 TD catches in past 2 … TE DENNIS PITTA (5) needs 3 TD rec. to set Ravens all-time record among TEs (TODD HEAP, 7 in ’05) … LB PAUL KRUGER has career-high 8 sacks in ’12 & aims for 6th game in row with sack … DE ARTHUR JONES has 4.5 sacks in past 3 games … KR-WR JACOBY JONES has NFL-best 33.2 KR avg. in ’12.
WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: Broncos are 1-4 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Broncos are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in December. Broncos are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 15. Ravens are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games. Ravens are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games on fieldturf. Ravens are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a ATS loss. Ravens are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games in December.
Thursday NFL Week 14 odds: Denver at Oakland
In the midst of their longest winning streak in 14 years, the Broncos look for an eighth consecutive victory while trying to hand the Raiders a sixth straight defeat Thursday night.
Second in the NFL in completion percentage (68.0), touchdown passes (29) and passer rating (104.6), QB Peyton Manning went 27 of 38 for 242 yards with three TDs and an interception Sunday to help Denver secure the West crown with a 31-23 win over Tampa Bay. Denver has scored at least 30 points in six of the seven games during the team’s longest string of victories since starting 13-0 in 1998.
Oakland, which has not lost six in a row since 2007, allowed Cleveland rookie Brandon Weeden to throw for 364 yards in Sunday’s 20-17 home loss to the Browns. The Raiders rank last in the NFL in scoring defense (31.3 points per game), 28th against the run (130.4 yards) and 25th against the pass (256.6).
Denver whipped Oakland all over the field in a 37-6 win at Denver in Week 4. The Broncos dominated third-down situations in the earlier meeting. Oakland went 1-for-15, and unless Darren McFadden returns to breathe life into the running game, the time for the Raiders to attempt something drastic could be near. A season-long trend of sleepwalking through the first quarter continues to place most every game in the hands of QB Carson Palmer and a weary defense nicked last week by injuries.
If Oakland is without FS Matt Giordano (concussion) on three days’ rest, the middle of the field could be a first-down breeding grounds for Manning. The Raiders can’t match speed with the Broncos and have matchup problems dotting the offensive formation, starting with WRs Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker. Manning played pitch-and-catch with his running backs and tight ends in the first meeting — 16 of his 30 completions were to players at those two positions — and easily adjusted to the Raiders’ changing schemes.
Denver has won seven of nine at Oakland, where the Raiders will be trying to avoid their first four-game home skid since 2008.
WAGERWEB.COM OPENING LINE: Broncos -10.5 (48). Check current odds
BRONCOS NOTES: Captured AFC West title for 2nd consecutive season. Have won 7 consecutive games, longest active streak in NFL. Club is 4-0 vs. AFC West … QB PEYTON MANNING (29) has most TD passes in single-season by Broncos QB. Posted 150th career reg.-season win last week, 2nd-most in NFL history. Has 9 TDs vs. 1 INT & 134.5 rating in past 3 on TNF. Passed for 338 yards w/ 3 TDs vs. 0 INTs & 130 rating in last meeting … RB KNOWSHON MORENO is averaging 97 scrim. yards (154 rush, 40 rec.) in past 2 … WR DEMARYIUS THOMAS had 5 rec. for 103 yards (20.6 avg) in last game vs. Oak. Aims for 4th in row with TD catch. WR ERIC DECKER has 8 TD catches, tied for career single-season high (2011) … TE JACOB TAMME had season-highs in catches (9) & rec. yards (89) last week … DE ELVIS DUMERVIL has 9 career sacks vs. Oak, most against any team. LB VON MILLER aims for 6th consecutive game with sack. Miller (15) needs 2.5 sacks to set single-season club record (Dumervil, 17 in ’09).
RAIDERS NOTES: QB CARSON PALMER is averaging 313.5 passing yards per game at home in ’12. Palmer (3,532) has reached 3,500 passing yards for 5th time in career … RB DARREN MC FADDEN has 100 rush yards in 3 of past 4 vs. Den. (165, 119, 150). Raiders are 9-2 (.818) when McFadden has 100 rush yards. RB MARCEL REECE is averaging 5.2 yards per carry in past 3 games (41 att., 213 yards). Has 467 receiving yards in ’12, most among NFL RBs…WR DENARIUS MOORE has career-best 6 TD receptions in this season. WR ROD STREATER had career-best 96 receiving yards last week, incl. career-long 64-yard TD reception … TE BRANDON MYERS had 14 receptions for 130 yards & TD last week, most catches in game by TE in Raiders history. Leads AFC TEs with 69 receptions in 2012 … LB PHILIP WHEELER has team-best 87 tackles.
WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: Over is 5-1 in the last 6 meetings. Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings in Oakland. Broncos are 4-9 ATS in their last 13 meetings. Underdog is 9-4 ATS in their last 13 meetings. Road team is 7-2 ATS in their last 9 meetings.
NFL Week 13 odds: Tampa Bay at Denver
Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos will clinch the AFC West for the second year in a row with a victory over Tampa Bay on Sunday, while the Bucs need a win to keep pace in the NFC wild-card chase.
These are two of the hottest teams in the league. Denver has won six consecutive games – the longest active streak in the NFL – and Tampa Bay has won four of its past five. Since Week 6, Tampa Bay leads the NFC with 228 points (32.6 per game). During that period, quarterback Josh Freeman has 16 touchdowns, three interceptions with a 104.1 passer rating and rookie running back Doug Martin has 1,082 scrimmage yards (154.6 per game) and nine total touchdowns.
Denver outscored opponents 183-107 in its winning streak. Last week, Peyton Manning passed for 285 yards and two touchdowns to record his 149th career win, passing Pro Football Hall of Famer John Elway (148) for the second-most in NFL history.
Tampa Bay has the NFL’s best run defense (81.5 yards a game), but Tampa Bay has struggled to stop the pass all season, giving up an NFL-worst 315.5 yards a game. A four-game suspension for cornerback Eric Wright after his violation of the league’s policy on performance-enhancing substances won’t help.
Manning has been sacked or put under duress on 14.5 percent of his dropbacks this season, the lowest rate in the NFL. The Buccaneers defense has sacked or put opponents under duress at the lowest team rate this season (16.5 percent).
The Broncos defense has allowed a league-low eight completions on throws more than 20 yards downfield this season despite facing the eighth-most attempts. Tampa Bay’s Freeman has completed a league-best 22 passes of those distances, with a career-high completion percentage (42.3).
The Buccaneers need a strong ground game with a controlled passing attack that allows them to dominate time of possession and limit Manning’s opportunities to come up with big plays. The Bucs can’t afford to get into a high-scoring affair with the Broncos as they simply don’t have the dynamic players on offense that Denver has.
WAGERWEB.COM OPENING LINE: Broncos -8 (50) Check our current lines
BUCS NOTES: Have won 4 of past 5 … In past 7, QB Josh Freeman has 16 TDs vs. 3 INTs & 104.1 rating. Is 3-0 vs. AFC in 2012 with 7 TDs, 1 INT & 121.9 rating. Bucs are 11-3 when he has 100 rating … Rookie RB Doug Martin is 2nd in NFL with 1,382 scrimmage yards (1,050 rush, 332 rec.). Rushed for 2 TDs last week & leads NFC with 9 rush TDs. Has 522 scrimmage yards (395 rush, 127 rec.) & 4 TDs in 3 games vs. AFC … WR Vincent Jackson has 6 TDs in past 8. Since 2008, his 18.5 yards per catch avg. (248 rec., 4,578 yards) is best in NFL (min. 100 catches). Jackson (20.4) & WR Mike Williams (16.9) are 1st & 3rd in NFC in yards per catch (min. 30 catches). Williams had 28-yard pass last week to Jackson. TE Dallas Clark has TD in 2 of past 3. Has 5 TDs in past 3 vs. Den. WR Tiquan Underwood had career-high 5 catches & 77 yards last week … Rookie CB Leonard Johnson has INT in each of past 2 vs. AFC, incl. 83-yard INT-TD. S Ronde Barber had INT last week. Is only player in NFL annals with 25 sacks (28) & 40 INTs (47). DE Michael Bennett has sack in 3 of past 5. Rookie LB Lavonte David leads team with 98 tackles. Rookie S MARK BARRON has 62 tackles & 8 PD.
BRONCOS NOTES: QB Peyton Manning has 110.2 rating at home in ’12, best in AFC. In 2 career games vs. TB, Manning is 2-0 & has 102.2 rating … RB Knowshon Moreno had season-high 111 scrim. yards (85 rush, 26 rec.) last week … WR Demaryius Thomas has registered 100 rec. yards in 3 of 5 homes games in ’12 (110, 103, 137). Has 24 receptions for 350 yards with 2 TDs in 3 games vs. NFC this season. WR Eric Decker has 8 TD rec. in ’12, tied for career single-season high (8 in ’11)… Defense has NFL-best 37 sacks in ’12 … LB Von Miller had 8 sacks in Nov., surpassing Rulon Jones (7.5 in Oct. of 1986) for most sacks in calendar month by Bronco. Aims for 5th consec. game with sack. LB Wesley Woodyard has career-highs in sacks (4) & INTs (3) in ’12. DE Elvis Dumervil (8) needs 2 sacks to record at least 10 for 3rd time of career.
WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: Buccaneers are 1-6-1 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing more than 350 total yards in their previous game. Buccaneers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in Week 13. Buccaneers are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 games in December. Broncos are 2-5 ATS vs. a team with a winning record. Broncos are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game. Broncos are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games in December. Broncos are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.
NFL Week 12 odds: Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs
The Denver Broncos begin life without leading rusher Willis McGahee, who is out for the season, but shouldn’t have much trouble against the 1-9 Chiefs on Sunday.
Without McGahee, the emphasis will be even more on quarterback Peyton Manning and the passing game. Manning’s offense will always try to win through the air, but McGahee’s tough running was a definite part of the plan. McGahee, 31, has 731 yards and averaged 4.4 yards per carry this season. Manning has the best completion percentage (48.8) on throws more than 20 yards downfield this season. Manning owes the success to play action, with 13 of his 20 completions of that distance following a play fake.
Denver’s offense, however, has been dominating lately without McGahee having huge games. Denver has scored at least 30 points in the past five games, which is a team record. McGahee had more than 66 yards in just one of those games.
Still, Denver will need to get some tough yardage at times. The spotlight now goes on third-round draft pick Ronnie Hillman. He has been playing more lately and he shows great promise and explosion. But it’s clear that the smallish Hillman is much more of an outside threat than in the inside.
The Chiefs’ issues on the offensive line may continue Sunday, giving quarterback Brady Quinn another challenge in his second start. Center Ryan Lilja (knee) and left tackle Branden Albert (back) did not practice Wednesday and guard Jon Asamoah (thumb) was limited. Asamoah and Lilja missed the Cincinnati game Sunday and Albert departed early. If the Chiefs are without those three lineman on Sunday, it could be a problem considering they face pass-rush stars Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil.
Kansas City (1-9) is averaging 12.0 points during a seven-game losing streak, mustering just 166.0 passing yards over the last five contests. The Chiefs need to make this a slow game by sticking to the run and sustaining long, clock-eating drives. If the Chiefs get into a track meet with Manning and the Broncos, they will definitely struggle to keep it close. Look for the Chiefs to use the maximum time on the clock on each snap and do everything possible to keep the clock moving. If the Chiefs let the Broncos get an early lead and are forced to throw the ball to play catch-up, they will play into the hands of Denver’s explosive edge rushers.
OPENING LINE: Broncos -10.5 (44) Check our current lines.
BRONCOS NOTES: Club aims for 6th consecutive win. Totaled 121 points in 4th quarter of games in ’12, tied for most in NFL (Lions) … With victory, QB Peyton Manning (148) can pass HOFer John Elway (148) for 2nd-most regular-season wins as starter in NFL history. Manning (2,975) needs 25 passing yards to register 14th season with at least 3,000 passing yards & surpass HOFer Dan Marino for 2nd-most such seasons in NFL history (Brett Favre, 18 seasons). For career, Manning is 5-1 vs. KC … Rookie RB Ronnie Hillman posted 1st rush TD of career in last road game vs. Car. … WR Demaryius Thomas (933) needs 67 yards to record 1st 1,000-yard season of career. WR Eric Decker has 8 TD receptions in past 7 games. WR Brandon Stokley posted 5th TD catch of season last week … Since entering NFL in 2011, LB Von Miller has 24.5 sacks, 2nd-most sacks through player’s 1st 25 games since 1982. Only Pro Football Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas (25) has more. Totaled 7 sacks in past 3 games. DE Elvis Dumervil aims for 4th consecutive game with sack. Needs 2 sacks to record at least 10 for 3rd time of career.
CHIEFS NOTES: QB Brady Quinn spent 2 seasons with Broncos (2010-11) … Club averages 145.4 rush yards per game, best in AFC … In past 2, RB Jamaal Charles has averaged 93.5 rush yards per game (187 total). Since 2010, Charles averages 108.5 scrimmage yards per game (2,371 rush; 666 rec.). For career, Charles averages 6.1 yards per carry vs. Den. (81 att., 492 yards). RB Peyton Hillis spent 2 seasons with Broncos (2008-09) … WR Dwayne Bowe (39) needs TD catch to become 5th player in club history with 40 career … In past 2, TE Tony Moeaki has 7 receptions for 141 yards (20.1 avg.) … LB Tamba Hali has 6 sacks in past 7. Hali (59.5) has 3rd-most sacks in Chiefs annals (Derrick Thomas, 126.5; Neil Smith, 85.5). Has 8.5 career sacks vs. Den. LB Derrick Johnson has team-high 88 tackles. LB Justin Houston has career-high 7 sacks this season.
WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings in Kansas City. Road team is 6-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings. Underdog is 5-0 ATS in their last 5 meetings.