Almost as shocking as these teams still having a shot at the playoffs, is the fact that this is a matchup of two of the better offenses in the NFL. Seriously. Derek Carr and the Raiders rank fifth in the league in offensive DVOA per Football Outsiders, while Philip Rivers and the Chargers rank ninth in that category.
And the Raiders have used that offense to get off to quick starts recently. Oakland has struck first in each of their past five games, while last week was the first time in the past five games that Los Angeles put was able to score first. With the Raiders also ranking sixth in first quarter scoring at home, we like them to put the first points up on the scoreboard in this one.
Pick: Team to Make First Score - Raiders (-110)
FIRST HALF BET
Los Angeles made a surprising move by firing offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt following the victory in Chicago and all the did was play their best game of the season, upsetting the Packers 26-11. The Chargers Defense played lights out against Aaron Rodgers. Philip Rivers shredded the Packers’ secondary and L.A. split 32 carries between Melvin Gordon and Austin Eckler (finally!).
Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn praised his team’s commitment to the run in that game, but they could be in tough against a Raiders run defense that ranks 11th in DVOA and is limiting opponents to just 3.7 yards per carry.
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But don’t worry Chargers fans, Rivers can go to work in this one, facing as the Raiders pass defense ranks 29th in pass defense and is allowing a league-worst 299.9 pass yards per game.
However, don’t forget about Carr. The Raiders QB is slinging it right now. He registered his third straight passer rating above 116.0 by throwing for 289 yards and a pair of scores last week, giving him seven touchdowns to one pick over that span. Now he faces a Chargers pass defense that ranks 23rd in DVOA. This first half number is too low with both teams having the ability to take advantage of the other's weakness.
Pick: Over 23.5 First Half Total
season has been the balance provided by rookie running back Josh Jacobs. The Alabama product has been outstanding, rushing for 120-plus yards in three of his past four games and is averaging nearly five yards per carry for the season. You can expect the Raiders to continue to feed him the ball against a Chargers run defense that ranks 20th in the league allowing 114.1 yards per game and 25th in DVOA. We like him to go Over his rushing total once again.
Pick: Josh Jacobs Over 83.5 Rushing Yards -120
FULL GAME TOTAL
This matchup has gone Under in each of the past three meetings, but that is largely due to the offensive deficiencies of the Raiders over the past few years. And while most people have come to expect Thursday night football games to be a slog, with the added playoff implications, this one is primed to be a little more exciting. As mentioned before, both offenses are set up to be successful and we are expecting big games from Jacobs and Rivers in particular.
Meanwhile, the defenses are full of their respective holes. It’s pretty simple. These offenses are too good for the opposing defenses right now.
Pick: Over 49
FULL GAME SIDE
Well. The Chargers just seem to do this every year. Lose a bunch of games early in the year you expect them to win. Then they’ll win a bunch they should lose and, in the process, look like one of the better teams in the league, before disappointing in the playoffs.
Which means they should probably win this game as their comeback tour continues. They have covered this matchup in the last four meetings and in a game that seems even up and down the board, you’d tend to side with a guy like Rivers. But the Chargers still need to show us more, particularly on defense.
The Chargers’ D just seems to be Joey Bosa and no one else. He leads the team with 8.5 sacks, but L.A. has just 21 as a team. If the Raiders impressive offensive line that ranks second in sacks allowed and first in QB hits, can contain Bosa, Carr should be able to go to work and put Oakland in a position to win. We’re taking the home dog. (Which means the Chargers probably win).