Sunday’s AFC West battle between the visiting Oakland Raiders and the hosting Los Angeles Chargers has playoff implications on the line. If the Chargers win, and get a little help from other teams, they are in the playoffs. The Raiders, who have been eliminated from any playoff chances, look to prevent their divisional and in-state rival from earning a playoff spot. Kickoff inside StubHub Center is at 4:25 PM ET.
Sunday’s matchup will be the 117th meeting between these two teams. The Raiders hold the advantage with an all-time record of 63-51-2. The Raiders also hold the all-time advantage playing at the Chargers with a 32-25-1 record. The Chargers have a 10-4 record at home against the Raiders since 2003. In their first meeting of the 2017 season, the Chargers were able to pull out a 17-16 victory over the Raiders.
Oakland (6-9) is 2-5 on the road and has lost 3 straight games heading into this matchup. On the season, Oakland has a 2-3 record in the division and a 5-6 record in the AFC conference. The Raiders hope to prevent the Chargers from making the playoffs by beating them on their home field.
The Chargers (8-7) are 4-3 at home, have won their last 4 home games, and have won 4 of their last 5 overall games. They have a 2-3 record in the division and a 5-6 conference record, which hurts them in the tie breaker scenarios for an AFC Wild Card spot. They need to win this game and get some help from other teams to get into the playoffs.
The spread opened with the Chargers favored by 7.5 points. Depending on the book, the spread is still at 7.5 points or up slightly to 8 points. The Over/Under opened at 44 points and has come down to 42 total points.
The Chargers have been an up and down team all season long. They have a losing divisional record and conference record, which doesn’t give me any confidence that they can beat the Raiders by more than 8 points. In fact, I don’t see it happening at all. I believe the Raiders will keep this game within a touchdown and have a chance at winning it late in the 4th.
The Chargers have everything to play for and will need a big effort by their offense to beat the Raiders. Defensively, the Chargers have been playing great football all year long, but it has been the offense that has held them back some. The Chargers are only averaging 21.7 ppg and have a sub-100 ypg average on the ground. This has put a lot of pressure on QB Philip Rivers to win ball games. On the season, Rivers has 4,128 yards, 25 TD and 10 interceptions. He will need a big game this weekend to beat a Raiders team that has nothing to lose and will take every risk to win this game.
Defensively, the Raiders are average at best. They allow 22.9 ppg, 352.5 total ypg, 108.5 rushing ypg, and 243.9 passing ypg. I believe Rivers will have success this weekend, but I’m not sure if it will be enough to win the game. And I’m confident it won’t be enough to cover the 8 point spread. It’s been 4 years since the Chargers have defeated the Raiders by more than 8 points, which tells me that these games are usually close contests. Even with the Raiders eliminated from playoff contention, they still play the Chargers tough and I believe they will do the same this weekend.
On the offensive side of the ball, the Raiders only average 19.4 ppg which is about 2 points more than what the Chargers allow per game (17.5). The Chargers biggest weakness is their rush defense that allows 132.9 ypg. The Raiders will need to capitalize on this weakness to have a shot in this game. I believe they will give LA a steady dose of Lynch and company, which will keep Rivers and the offense off the field. I look for the Raiders to control the clock and put themselves in a position to win the game late.
Oakland played the Eagles tough on the road last MNF, despite not having any shot at the playoffs. I expect them to do the same this weekend. I see this game being very tight from beginning to end. Look for the Chargers to squeak out another win out by a score of 23-20.
The Raiders are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 road games against the Chargers. L.A. is 3-8 ATS in their last 11 home games and are 4-8 ATS in their last 12 games as a favorite of 3.5 to 9.5 points.