Raiders awful, but can cover vs. Broncos

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Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer passes behind the

Oakland Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer passes behind the blocking of fullback Marcel Reece during the second half against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. (Oct. 28, 2012) Photo Credit: AP

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John Boell Newsday sports writer John Boell

Boell has worked in the Newsday sports department in various capacities since 1999. In 2010, he became Newsday's

BRONCOS (9-3) at RAIDERS (3-9), 8:20 p.m.

Broncos by 10 1/2; O/U: 48 1/2

TV:NFL.Radio:WFAN (660/101.9).

I don't know if I've seen a more amazing recovery from an injury than what Peyton Manning is doing this season.

Manning missed all of last season with the Colts because of a serious neck injury. It ultimately led to his departure from Indy and arrival in Denver.

Remember back on Monday Night Week 2 and his three-interception game at Atlanta, a 27-21 loss for Denver? The Broncos lost two of their next three games and were 2-3. Many questioned Manning's arm strength and wondered if he would ever fully return to his elite playing form.

But all the former No. 1 overall pick has done since then is lead Denver to seven straight wins. Manning is 304 of 447 (68 percent) for 3,502 yards with 29 touchdowns, nine interceptions, and a 104.6 QB rating as the Broncos already have clinched the AFC West.

On the other end of the spectrum are the Raiders (3-9). Oakland's defense is giving up an NFL-worst 31.3 points per game. Running backs Darren McFadden and Mike Goodson (both listed as probable, ankle) haven't played since Nov. 4.

Denver, which has not covered its last three games, is an abysmal 3-16-1 ATS (against the spread) as a favorite of more than eight points dating to November 2003, including 11 straight non-covers since 2006.

The Raiders are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 games as underdogs of eight or more points. To paraphrase the late Raiders owner Al Davis: "Just cover, baby!"

THE PICK: Raiders

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