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 Leave it to the Oakland Raiders to ruin the renewal of a great rivalry.
The Raiders have done so this year by being, well, awful. They've dropped five in a row, four of them admittedly to decent teams. But they were outplayed by Cleveland in Oakland last Sunday, a true indication of how far they've fallen.
Now the Broncos head to the Black Hole on Thursday night, already owning the AFC West title, but not likely to pull back any against the team Denver fans (and some players) always have loved to hate.
``It's tough,'' Broncos cornerback Champ Bailey said. ``Their fans are probably the rowdiest fans you'll see anywhere. It's tough, but you've got to go in there and block that out some kind of way, and the best way to do that is win the game or get up on them.
``I like it. I like playing on the road because I like people to boo us and I like to make them shut up, so to speak. That's just the way it is. I like winning on the road.''
Denver (No. 4 in the AP Pro32) is on a seven-game winning streak, longest in the league, and is a 10-point favorite to handle the Raiders (No. 31, AP Pro32).
Oakland struggles against any sort of dangerous offense, and with Peyton Manning getting more comfortable each week with his receivers, runners and blockers, the Broncos certainly rate as a threat anytime they have the ball.
They will have the ball a lot, particularly in the end zone.
BRONCOS, 38-13
No. 29 Philadelphia (plus 7 1/2) at No. 15 Tampa Bay
Eagles playing for next year and beyond, Bucs playing for a playoff berth.
BEST BET: BUCCANEERS, 30-13
No. 9 Chicago (minus 3) at No. 18 Minnesota
Bears banged-up and Adrian Peterson is running wild.
UPSET SPECIAL: VIKINGS, 16-14
No. 1 Houston (plus 4 1/2) at No. 2 New England, Monday night
Texans would prove a lot with a win here. Won't happen.
PATRIOTS, 28-22
No. 6 Baltimore (pick-em) at No. 14 Washington
Beltway Bowl. Ravens overcome headaches thinking about RG3.
RAVENS, 24-23
No. 20 Miami (plus 10) at No. 5 San Francisco
Jim Harbaugh's QB decision needs to pay dividends here.
49ERS, 23-14
No. 17 New Orleans (plus 5) at No. 8 New York Giants
If this game was in Superdome, choice would be reversed.
GIANTS, 30-27
No. 22 Detroit (plus 6 1/2) at No. 7 Green Bay
Packers are inconsistent, but Lions are consistently mediocre and undisciplined.
PACKERS, 33-19
No. 28 Arizona (plus 10) at No. 12 Seattle
First of three divisional games at home for Seahawks, who are 5-0 in Seattle.
SEAHAWKS, 27-10
No. 26 Tennessee (plus 5 1/2) at No. 10 Indianapolis
Another step toward the postseason for Andrew Luck and Colts.
COLTS, 28-17
No. 23 New York Jets (minus 2 1/2) at No. 32 Jacksonville
And the Jets are favored why, exactly?
JAGUARS, 10-9
No. 2 Atlanta (minus 3 1/2) at No. 27 Carolina
Falcons desperately want to stay home for entire playoffs.
FALCONS, 33-23
No. 16 Dallas (plus 3) at No. 13 Cincinnati
This one is easy: Bengals are the better team - by more than a field goal.
BENGALS, 23-16
No. 19 St. Louis (plus 3) at No. 21 Buffalo
After handling Niners, Rams should flatten Bills, right? Nope.
BILLS, 21-20
No. 30 Kansas City (plus 5) at No. 25 Cleveland
Browns starting to show enough to maybe save Shurmur's job.
BROWNS, 20-10
No. 24 San Diego (OFF) at No. 11 Pittsburgh
Could be a rout if Ben Roethlisberger plays for Steelers. Even if not ...
STEELERS, 20-13
---
2012 RECORD:
Against spread: 5-8-1 (78-99-7). Straight up: 11-5 (120-70-1)
Best Bet: 6-5-2 against spread, 10-3 straight up.
Upset special: 9-4 against spread, 7-6 straight up.
---
Online: http://pro32.ap.org/poll and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL
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