Oakland Raiders vs. Los Angeles Chargers Prediction Week 16
Oakland Raiders (6-8 SU, 6-8 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (5-9 SU, 4-8-2 ATS)
NFL Week 16
Date/Time: Sunday, December 22, 2019 at 4:05PM EST
Where: Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California
Point Spread: OAK +6/LAC -6 (Best Bonus)
Over/Under Total: 46
The Oakland Raiders take on the Los Angeles Chargers in AFC West action from Carson on Sunday. There wasn’t much to like about either team last week. Just when it seemed the Chargers had turned the corner, they again fell apart, providing no resistance against a visiting Minnesota team on Sunday, getting slain, 39-10. Somehow, it may have been even uglier for the Raiders. Playing in their home finale, they couldn’t even repel a completely-sideways Jaguars team, blowing a lead and losing in the final seconds for their fourth straight loss. When so much seemed possible, they have gone into the tank. But against another team prone to major team-collapses, who is the more reliable choice in this spot?
Any Hints from Game One?
In week ten, the Raiders beat the Chargers, 26-24, in Oakland. Three Philip Rivers’ picks were a big part of that equation, as was an efficient performance from the Raiders offense and Derek Carr, with some big runs from Josh Jacobs (questionable). But things change, and unfortunately for the Raiders, it hasn’t been for the better. This first divisional game came as the Raiders were flying high, amid a winning stretch as they tried to make a playoff run. Not a lot of good has been seen since then to suggest the same version of the Raiders we saw in week ten will resurface here. Then again, in facing a dysfunctional team like the Chargers, who really can be that sure?
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What to Expect from Oakland in the Final Stretch
It’s fair to ask why they would elevate their game now after falling on their faces so hard when there were actually things on the line. Losing to Tennessee and Kansas City is one thing. Losing to the Jets by 31 and letting Jacksonville win in their Oakland finale are knocks that aren’t easy to recover from. Still, a strong two games to close would at least make it, so there was some measurable progress in Gruden’s second season at the helm. Don’t expect a phone-in from Oakland. But for a team that couldn’t will themselves to better things in winnable spots, it’s fair to be down on them right now. They haven’t covered the spread the last five weeks—missing the spread by a combined 103 points. So being off the spread by an average of over 20 points per game has a way of souring the betting public on taking that team. It’s understandable.
Are the Chargers Alive?
It has to be hard for those who took the Chargers last week as mere 1-point dogs at home against the Vikings, as they lost by almost 30. After a 35-point win at Jacksonville the previous week, it was fair to think that maybe the Bolts found a second wind. But Sunday was a microcosm of the Chargers’ issues, and it goes beyond the seven turnovers they coughed up. All season, some strong defensive performances have been undermined by an offense that went from a strength last season to a liability in 2019. Rivers hasn’t taken care of the ball, the run-game suffers, the line is doo-doo, and despite ample weaponry, they’re often left spinning their wheels. For all the hopes they created last season, it has to be a hard pill to swallow to be in this spot. So as we factor in the recent Oakland collapse, we also have to look at a Chargers’ team in the midst of what is a disastrous season. And how much wind will be pumped in their sails by again being at home in a stadium where the fans of the visiting team drown out whatever minuscule fan base the Chargers have secured in Los Angeles?
The Cost of Mistakes
In a game where there is little separating the teams, one might want to look at which side undermines themselves more. With the Bolts, it looms as a constant roadblock, both for them and for the poor bettors who plunked down their money. Oakland, however, doesn’t always take advantage, and other than their first game against the Chargers, haven’t gotten many turnovers. By the same token, the Raiders’ overall playmaking ability on defense has nosedived in recent weeks.
More Capable of Exploding
It might be worth something in this matchup to have a team that is at least capable of a good game. After getting blown out by 29 at home, it feels strange to then give the nod to the Chargers. In the last six weeks, we’ve seen the Chargers pound the Jaguars, even battering the Packers in this building. Sure, there are some clunkers in there, as well, but the ceiling might be higher for a Bolts team that is at least capable of seeing a spike in production. The pickings are slim in this matchup when looking for an edge. I can’t help but think the Chargers at least showing some life here and there counts for something, in contrast to an Oakland team that has been dogmeat for weeks on end.
Lay the Number on the Chargers
Let’s face it, laying close to a TD on the Chargers gives one an uneasy feeling. And it should. They really stink. They blow it left and right. They rarely yield the results they should. But maybe they just ran into the wrong opponent last week. The last time we saw them against another suffering squad, they were able to thrive, whereas they fall on their face against the more-together football teams they face. I don’t see Oakland doing here what they’ve been unable to do the last handful of weeks in spots that mattered a whole lot more than this one does. I’ll take the Bolts.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Los Angeles Chargers minus 6 points.
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