Oakland Raiders (2-3 SU, 2-3 ATS) vs. San Francisco 49ers (0-5 SU, 2-3 ATS), 4:05 pm EST, NFL Week 6, Sunday, October 17, 2010, Candlestick Park, San Francisco, California
By Scotty L of Predictem.com
Betting Odds: Oak +7/SF -7
Over/Under Total: 40.5
The Oakland Raiders make the very short trip to Candlestick Park to take on the winless SF 49ers on Sunday. The Raiders are coming off a passionate win over their rival Chargers last weekthe first time they beat the Chargers in 7 years. The 49ers, conversely, are coming off another agonizing loss, as they continue to play just good enough to lose.
Regardless of how you feel about the 49ers, a little sympathy is called for. This season was supposed to represent a resurgence for the one-time NFL powerhouse, but self-sabotage has ruled the day. Key field goals arent being made, the D is not making 3rd down stops, and the O-line is getting the worst of it. Against the Eagles last week, Anthony Davis was called for numerous false starts, killing their offensive momentum, while letting defenders blow by him.
5 turnovers sealed the deal, as the Niners fell 27-24 to the Eagles. QB Alex Smith hasnt been horrible, but he needs help. He could make some better decisions, like when he refused to take a sack and instead gave up a fumble that was ran back 50+ yards for a touchdown. It is downright agonizing to back a team that looks like theyre putting together a scoring drive, only to give points to the defense. Those 14-point swings are murder. With a NFL-high 15 takeaways, the 49ers are their own worst enemy. With 3 of their defeats by a FG or less, they could easily be 3-2 with a little better execution.
The Raiders are stubborn in their refusal to fall into the role of a bad team. Against the Chargers, there were times when the offense moved like wet concrete and the secondary looked like the Chargers big receivers were schooling them with impunity. They kept their heads up, however, and prevailed in a rousing victory. Say what you will about Tom Cable, but the Raiders seem to rally around the guy, despite times where guys appear to be phoning it in a bit. You could almost feel Charger fans, rapidly tiring of seeing Norv Turner standing on the sidelines with a look of passive indifference, wishing they had a coach like Cable.
The Raiders jumped off to a quick lead as they hammered the Chargers for 2 blocked punts, in addition to a pair of red-zone fumbles early in the game. At 12-0, things were looking good. By the 3rd quarter, the Raiders had fallen behind by 9a 21-point swing. The momentum was squarely on the side of the Chargers and another loss seemed inevitable. They looked deflated, as the high-flying Chargers offense was having their way. Jason Campbell was brought in as quarterback and suddenly, the offense started moving. The defense started making some big plays and the Raiders turned it around. Being able to surge to a win in that fashion could represent a turn in the fortunes of the Raiders.
Oakland has a bit of a quarterback controversy brewing, with Bruce Gradkowski and Jason Campbell both seeing time on Sunday. It was like a rotating door, with both quarterbacks coming in and out multiple times. It did in fact seem that the offense had a little more edge to it under Campbell, who figures to start on Sunday now that Gradkowski is banged up from an arm injury. Michael Bush ran for over 100 yards and Oaklands offense really answered the call when it mattered late.
It is a bit curious that Oakland is a 7-point dog against a winless 49ers team. The feeling is that it is just a matter of time before the 49ers get the poison out, kind of like how the Lions mauled the Rams last week. A realist might believe that if they were that good; they would have showed it before now. 49ers owner Jed York on Monday following the loss to the Eagles came out and said the 49ers will still win the NFC West. While this claim might be overly optimistic, one should expect the 49ers to win some games this year. Why not against a mediocre Raiders team at home?
Scotty Ls Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Depends which Raiders team shows up, especially on defense. Their run D has been effective at times, but there are occasions when they appear very porous. The secondary, while solid overall, also plays with a wide range of different results. After the big win last week, expect an energetic effort from the Raiders D on Sunday.
Things, as a rule, almost have to start going SFs way here at some point. If an 0-5 team that had hopes for a good season cant beat the Raiders at home with their season on the line, then this team will officially be in shambles. Alex Smith (9 INTs) needs to become more efficient. The O-line should have some success with an erratic Raiders D-line and get some push, allowing Frank Gore to get some big carries. Smith will be dishing it off to Vernon Smith, Michael Crabtree, and Gore, spreading the ball around to keep the Raiders on their toes. The 49ers will be able to notch enough big plays to win this game, going away at the end. Take the 49ers minus 7 points.