NFL week 8 tips: Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders in tasty AFC West clash
Week 9 of the NFL season sees divisional battles aplenty across the league, with no match more important than Denver Broncos’ clash against Oakland Raiders in the AFC West.
The defending Super Bowl champions are behind Jack del Rio’s men in the current standings, which would leave them fifth seed in the AFC if the playoffs started today. As a result this contest has huge significance, but it’s not the only one this weekend.
Here, Coral give their five top NFL week 9 tips for the current round of action…
Pittsburgh Steelers @ Baltimore Ravens
Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has had time in the bye week to gain some semblance of fitness as he recovers from a torn meniscus. Such is the toughness of the 34-year-old he could yet feature this week, just 13 days removed from surgery.
Even a half-fit Roethlisberger would offer an upgrade over Landry Jones, who struggled in crucial moments during his side’s defeat to New England Patriots. The veteran’s return would be welcome against the Ravens, who he has enjoyed some great moments against in the past.
Baltimore have lost their last four matches on the spin, enduring their own problems on offense. This match is huge in the context of the AFC North as a victory for the Ravens would bring them level with the Steelers at 4-4.
It could hinge on whether Roethlisberger plays at M&T Bank Stadium and, given the uncertainty over his fitness, backing the Ravens at 13/5 to win by a 1-6 point margin could be prudent, especially on home field.
Dallas Cowboys @ Cleveland Browns
The Cowboys have been the surprise package of the NFL this season due to outstanding performances of rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott. Jason Garrett’s men boast the best record in the NFC following their vital win over Philadelphia Eagles last week, taking command of the NFC East division in the process.
On paper Dallas should have no problem brushing aside the Browns, but the AFC North side have been battling for Hue Jackson all season despite their lack of talent.
They made a significant trade during the week to land Jamie Collins from New England Patriots, and the linebacker could make crucial plays for the club in the eight remaining matches.
As a result backing the Browns to cover the +6.5 spread at 19/20 would be a wise move, especially since they’re at home.
Philadelphia Eagles @ New York Giants
The Eagles and rookie quarterback Carson Wentz have come back down to earth following their 3-0 start to the season, losing three of their last four contests. The 23-year-old has been solid enough for his team, but the lack of talent around him is starting to affect the team’s performance on offense.
Those players will need to raise their game ahead of a crucial NFC East against the Giants, with both teams vying for a playoff place that increasingly appears to be only a wildcard spot due to the form of Dallas Cowboys.
New York have found a rhythm following an inconsistent start to the campaign, reeling off back-to-back wins over Baltimore Ravens and Los Angeles Rams. Eli Manning and company are coming fresh off the bye week and will be desperate to attempt to close the gap on the Cowboys at the top.
The game could be a tight affair given that strengths will be facing off against each other as the Giants’ offense will take on the stout Eagles’ defense. As a result backing under 43.5 total points at 10/11 would be a smart move.
Detroit Lions @ Minnesota Vikings
The Vikings lost for the second game on the spin in their defeat to Chicago Bears on Monday, which resulted in the departure of offensive coordinator Norv Turner. Minnesota started the season 5-0 and looked to be a strong contender to be the NFC’s representative in the Super Bowl.
However, their troubles on the offensive line have stagnated, putting their defense under huge pressure. Against Philadelphia Eagles and the Bears the strain was there for all to see and they need to start firing again to ensure that their season does not slip away from them.
Detroit are perhaps the most mediocre team in the NFL with their 4-4 record. When they’ve been on form they’re a pleasure to watch, but then they’re not it’s not great viewing. Quarterback Matt Stafford has been on form this term and has formed a good partnership with wideout Marvin Jones.
Should these two click against the Vikings it could be a long day for Mike Zimmer’s men, which is why the money line for the Lions at 21/10 is a very intriguing option.
Denver Broncos @ Oakland Raiders
The Raiders have a huge chance to take the outright lead in the AFC West and stake a claim to earn one of the top two seeds in the AFC. Both sides currently sit at 6-2 in their respective campaigns, but Oakland’s stronger record in the division sees them top the standings at the moment.
Quarterback Derek Carr was outstanding in his side’s overtime triumph over Tampa Bay Buccaneers last week, throwing for 513 yards and four touchdowns. He will need to be just as good on Sunday night against the vaunted Broncos’ defense, although they will be without All-Pro cornerback Aqib Talib.
The loss of Talib presents an opportunity to attack Denver as Gary Kubiak’s men have been pedestrian themselves on offense, and without running back CJ Anderson to take the pressure off Trevor Siemian their success lies firmly on the shoulders of the second-year signal-caller.
As a result, backing a Raiders’ 1-6 point win at 11/4 is the bet to take in this fixture as Del Rio’s men will take the initiative in the AFC West in their bid to reach the playoffs for the first time since 2002.
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