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Monday Night Football Preview: Can the Raiders Take Down the Broncos?

Two underwhelming teams will do battle on Monday. Which matchups will influence the outcome of this AFC West clash?

This week's edition of Monday Night Football features the 6-8 Denver Broncos traveling to face the 3-11 Oakland Raiders in an AFC West matchup. When these two teams met earlier this year, Denver edged Oakland, 20-19.

The Broncos enter this contest losers of two straight, including a narrow 17-16 loss to the Cleveland Browns last week. On the other side, the Raiders dropped their last game to the Cincinnati Bengals, 30-16. With pride alone on the line, here are a few matchups likely to influence the outcome of this divisional game.

Quarterback Breakdown

For Denver, Case Keenum will quarterback the Broncos through the end of 2018. Keenum has largely disappointed this season, recording 3,396 passing yards, 15 touchdowns, and 12 interceptions. Keenum has also disappointed by our Net Expected Points (NEP) metric. Among 21 quarterbacks with at least 400 drop backs, Keenum's 0.07 Passing NEP per drop back ranks 17th. Lucky for Keenum, Oakland's porous defense provides an avenue to success.

On the other side, Derek Carr has performed only slightly better in his first season under Jon Gruden. To date, he has 3,697 passing yards, 19 touchdowns, and 8 interceptions. Looking at NEP, Carr's 0.08 Passing NEP per drop back ranks 16th among the aforementioned group.

Running Back Breakdown

With the season progressing along, Phillip Lindsay has taken the clear lead role in the Denver backfield. So far this year, Lindsay has 991 rushing yards and 9 scores. He has also impressed according to NEP. On 182 carries, Lindsay's 0.11 Rushing NEP per carry comes in far above the 0.02 league average. Behind Lindsay, Royce Freeman and Devontae Booker have mixed in, providing a change-of-pace role. Freeman's -0.08 Rushing NEP comes in far below Lindsay's, and Booker plays primarily on third downs, notching only 26 total carries this year.

On the other side, Oakland's backfield will consist of a committee between Doug Martin and Jalen Richard. Both Martin and Richard rank far below the league average with a -0.05 and -0.15 Rushing NEP per carry, respectively. Martin has played primarily on early downs, and Richard does his work in the passing game, logging 62 receptions.

Defensive Matchup

On the defensive side of the ball, the Broncos have a sizeable advantage. They enter this contest ranked fifth overall while the Raiders slot in 30th, according to our schedule-adjusted metrics. Denver ranks 9th against the pass and 11th against the run. Oakland, meanwhile, has struggled across the board, sitting 30th against the pass and 32nd against the run.

\With such a large discrepancy on the defensive side of the ball, the outcome of this contest could come down to Derek Carr's performance against Denver's stellar defense.

Historical Comparison

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