Klee’s Scorecard: Broncos at Las Vegas Raiders

Offense

Henry Ruggs III went 12th (to the Raiders). Jerry Jeudy went 15th (to the Broncos). Jon Gruden’s explanation: “Ruggs gave us a (speed) dimension this franchise hasn’t had in a long time.” While Jeudy has twice as many catches and yards, it’s Ruggs and the Vegas offense that are taking off.

Advantage: Raiders

Defense

Oh, boy. This Raiders defense is a mess. It’s 26th in points per play, 26th in pass defense, 30th in sacks and 31st in turnovers. Talk about a perfect time for Drew Lock to get his offense in order. Question is, can Vic Fangio field a run defense that can stop Gruden’s big-time running game?

Advantage: Broncos

Special teams

Going out on a limb here: the Broncos will not have a special teamer selected to the Pro Bowl. OK, one more step out: Tom McMahon will not return in 2021. While Fangio has given a vote of confidence to the special teams coordinator, their sideline interactions suggest it’s not working.

Advantage: Raiders

Coaching

Serious question: who’d you rather join at a Vegas blackjack table — Gruden or Fangio? The dealer analysis from Gruden would be Emmy worthy. Then again, Fangio spinning a yarn can lighten the mood during a cold streak. Final answer: Gruden. Living in Vegas, he’ll know the $5 tables.

Advantage: Raiders

Intangibles

Broncos QB Peyton Manning, bless him, never lost to the Raiders (7-0). And the last time the Broncos beat the Raiders on the road was Manning’s final season, 2015. Look for the Broncos’ first trip to the “Death Star” to come down to the final 2 minutes. Denver competes. Vegas wins.

Advantage: Raiders

Klee’s prediction: Raiders (minus-4) 26, Broncos 23 (Season: 7-1 overall, 3-5 ATS)

—Paul Klee

(Contact Gazette sports columnist Paul Klee at paul.klee@gazette.com or on Twitter at @bypaulklee.)

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