Note: If you’re looking for the 2012 week 1 MNF game between these two teams, please go here: San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders Pick.
Oakland Raiders (5-6 SU, 6-5 ATS) vs. San Diego Chargers (6-5 SU, 6-5 ATS), 4:05 p.m. EST, NFL Week 13, Sunday, December 5, 2010, Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
By Scotty L of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Oak +13/SD -13
Over/Under Total: 46.5
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The Oakland Raiders make the short trip South to take on the streaking San Diego Chargers. Right now, it looks like two teams headed in the opposite directions. The Chargers have recovered from a 2-5 start to forge to a 6-5 mark, showing their enormous promise in the process. The Raiders, however, have dropped two straight gamesafter winning 3 straight to get to above .500.
The Raiders looked like a good, up-and-coming, overachieving team that was responding well to their coach and priming for a playoff run. Then they got hammered at Pittsburgh. No shame in that, but their lack of competitive spirit was jarring. Jason Campbell had an awful game and reopened the quarterback controversy. Bruce Gradkowski started the last game against Miami and was also truly dismal, managing only one touchdown and one field goal on offense at home.
The Raiders finally beat the Chargers in week five for the first time since 2003. That is not a rave review for a team that plays the Chargers twice a season, but it offered hope that the Raiders were at least breaking their mold of being AFC West softies. But lets face it: what are the chances the Raiders are going to beat the Chargers twice this season after losing so many in a row? Add in the tidbit that the Chargers are really cooking nowriding high on the crest of 4 straight wins and covers. Oakland faces a tough game in San Diego on Sunday, thats for sure.
The Chargers have really turned it around. The special teams flubs that plagued them all season have disappeared over the past few weeks. Now a bunch of guys are coming back and a lot of players are performing well. Running back Michael Tolbert has put together two consecutive 100-yard rushing games. Fullback Jacob Hester has been dialed in and playing remarkably well. Philip Rivers, meanwhile is having a banner season. The defense is playing wonderfully, with great contributions from standouts LBs Kevin Burnett and Stephen Cooper, and defensive backs Eric Weddle and Antoine Cason.
In their last 2 games against Denver and Indianapolis, the Chargers D opened the games looking like Swiss cheesegiving up opening touchdowns that were all too easy. In both games, they adjusted and went on to stymie those teams for the duration of the games. It is one thing to wallop Denver at home, but their road romping of Indianapolis seemed to serve notice that the Chargers will need to be dealt with this season in a big way. The offense didnt exactly light it up, but the defense scored a few times and kept Manning in check. Mistakes were kept to a minimum and now the Chargers are riding high.
The Raiders have a bright spot in running back Darren McFadden, who is picking up steam. The problem is that despite getting decent QB play from time to time, both of their field generals need to shake a stubborn case of mediocrity for this team to truly ascend. Campbell and Gradkowski have been passing around the starting job and this team needs continuity. Maybe Campbell is slightly more capable of showing flashes of goodness than Gradkowski, but neither man has really set the world on fire. Campbell will very likely get the nod on Sunday, with Gradkowski listed as doubtful with his throwing arm injured again. The secondary of the Raiders are also losing some of its resolve increasingly as the season moves into the late stages. It has been particularly un-clutch in the past 3 games.
Scotty L’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: A month ago, one might be inclined to jump on the Raiders getting 13 points. It’s still a big spread even now considering the Chargers apparent renaissance. The way these teams are playing now, however, the Raiders figure to have fits on the road the way the Chargers defense is playing. A very long day seems all but certain. Sure, they could sneak in a few touchdowns, play tough “D,” and get a cover. It just seems that they are out of their element. The Chargers have been good at home, even when they were in their funk. Now, it’s a different story-they are a real handful.
As of right now, the Chargers might be the best team in the NFL. In addition, they appear to be at their absolute peak, whereas the Raiders are again in the dumps. Look for the Chargers to batter Oakland en route to a sound beating. Take the Chargers minus 13 points.