San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders
The San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders battle it out on Thursday Night with the winner getting at least a piece of first place in the NFL’s AFC West. The Chargers are -7 point favorites over the Raiders with an over/under point total set at 49.
The San Diego Chargers are one of the more talented teams in the NFL but Norv Turner’s team is known for starting slow and they haven’t surprised or disappointed anyone in that regard this season. QB Philip Rivers continues to live up to his gunslinger reputation completing 63.3 percent of his passes for 2,469 yards with 11 touchdowns but 14 costly interceptions. The San Diego backfield has been bruised with Ryan Mathews missing last week’s game and Mike Tolbert missing action earlier this year and thus far Mathews is averaging 4.6 yards per carry and Tolbert is averaging 3.7 with four touchdowns and he also has 32 catches and two more touchdowns. Vincent Jackson is the Chargers leading receiver with 34 grabs and six touchdowns while Antonio Gates has 25 catches and two touchdowns though he has also missed several games. The San Diego defense has eight interceptions, 17 sacks and four fumble recoveries giving them a minus eight turnover differential which has been the difference between a winning record and the .500 record they currently own. Takeo Spike has 56 tackles, Donald Butler has 54, and Eric Weddle has 44. The question this year is whether San Diego can make their normal late season run or will their slow start and turnover issues cost them the playoffs.
The Oakland Raiders were in first place in the AFC West two games ago but following two consecutive losses they are in a three way tie. When Jason Campbell went down the Raiders opened up the vault and went out and acquired Carson Palmer from the Bengals but thus far Palmer has looked like anything but a savior completing just 48.2 percent of his passes with three touchdowns and six interceptions. While Palmer is taking some of the heat for losing Darren McFadden has been out since week seven and he’s questionable for this one but he’s averaging 5.4 yards per carry and he has four touchdowns and he has 19 catches. In the meantime it has been Michael Bush is averaging 4.2 yards per carry and though he is a nice compliment to McFadden he isn’t a replacement. Darrius Heyward-Bey leads the Raiders in receptions with 27 and Denarius Moore has 18. The Oakland defense has 18 sacks, four fumble recoveries, and seven interceptions. Tyvon Branch has 63 tackles, Rolando McClain has 43, and Richard Seymour has five sacks. With the division leads all packed in tight every divisional game takes on an added importance.
San Diego is 6-2-1 against the spread in their last nine games as a home favorite of 3.5 to 10 points, 2-5-1 against the spread in their last eight games against the AFC, and 2-7-1 against the spread in their last 10 games overall. Oakland is 4-0 against the spread in their last four road games, 8-2 against the spread in their last 10 games against the AFC West, and 6-2 against the spread as a road underdog of 3.5 to 10 points. The underdog has covered the last meetings of these two.
The total in this game is set at 49 which seems like a big number but in today’s NFL where pass coverage has almost become illegal teams with big armed QB’s can put up a lot of numbers in a hurry and throw in backs like Mathews and McFadden if they go and this could be a big number.