A pair of AFC West rivals will get together on Sunday afternoon as the Oakland Raiders host the Los Angeles Chargers. Game time is at 4:05 EST on Sunday, November 11, at Oakland Coliseum. Fans in some markets will be able to watch the game on Fox.
According to the Week 10 NFL odds, the Chargers are 10-point favorites on the road. The over/under for the game is set at 50 points.
Jon Gruden’s return to Oakland has been a nightmare. The Raiders have gone 1-7 during the first half of their schedule, with their only win coming at home against the Browns. They are currently nursing a four-game losing streak, including a humiliating 34-3 loss to their Bay Area rivals last time out. Other than a trip to Arizona to play the Cardinals next week, there aren’t many winnable games left on Oakland’s schedule in what could be their last season before moving to Las Vegas.
The season has been almost the exact opposite for the Chargers. They are 6-2 with their only losses coming against the Chiefs and Rams. Los Angeles is also in the midst of a five-game winning streak after last week’s impressive road win against the Seahawks. The caveat is that they still trail the Chiefs for the top spot in the AFC West. With Kansas City showing no signs of letting off, it’s possible the Chargers will have to settle for a wild-card spot, even if they keep up their winning ways for the rest of the season.
These two teams met in Los Angeles back in Week 5 with the Chargers winning 26-10. The Chargers out-gained the Raiders by over 100 yards in that game, giving Los Angeles their third straight win over Oakland since leaving San Diego.
To be honest, I’m surprised this spread isn’t any higher than 10 points. I’d probably be willing to eat a lot more points in favor of the Chargers. It should be clear by now that the Raiders have given up on the 2018 season. I’m not even sure playing a division rival at home will be enough to get them excited. Even if it is, this game is still a mismatch. This is a heavy lean in favor of the Chargers covering the spread.
The only potential concern in this game is the Chargers taking Oakland lightly and succumbing to a classic trap game. I’ll admit to that being a remote possibility. But with Los Angeles still chasing the Chiefs in the AFC West, they know they can’t afford a letdown, so I think they’ll stay sharp.
If the Chargers are anywhere close to their best offensively, they’ll be tough to beat. They may not be putting up outrageous amounts of points week after week, but the L.A. offense is averaging close to 400 yards per game. The Chargers have one of the most balanced attacks in football, which makes them difficult to defend over four quarters.
Running back Melvin Gordon returned from a hamstring injury last week and picked up right where he left off, running for 113 yards and a touchdown. Having a competent rushing attack has enabled Philip Rivers to have one of his best seasons as a passer in 2018. Rivers has never been this efficient, averaging better than nine yards per attempt while also holding himself to just three interceptions. He also doesn’t have the pressure of having to carry his team with the Chargers running the ball so effectively.
It’s tough to envision the Oakland defense doing anything to slow down Rivers and the Chargers. Keep in mind that the last time we saw the Raiders, they were getting torn apart by Nick Mullens in his first career start. Oakland’s defense made Mullens look like a Pro Bowl quarterback. One can only imagine the damage an actual Pro Bowl quarterback can do against this defense.
The Raiders may have just as many problems on the other side of the ball. With Marshawn Lynch hurt and Amari Cooper being traded, the Raiders are lacking playmakers, providing Derek Carr with little support. The offensive line also folded last week, allowing eight sacks against the 49ers. Carr couldn’t even finish the game because of how frequently he was getting hit. That’s probably not a problem that will go away this week against Melvin Ingram and the Los Angeles pass rush.
In fact, the Chargers have been surprisingly good on defense lately. They’ve held four straight opponents under 20 points to drop their season average to 22.5 points per game. The L.A. defense is sometimes vulnerable against the run. But even with Lynch in the lineup, the Raiders were unable to exploit that weakness when these teams met in Week 5.
Needless to say, this game is a complete mismatch. Oakland’s path to victory is incredibly narrow and would involve the Chargers playing their worst game of the season. When you consider that the Raiders have lost four straight games by at least 14 points, it’s easy to lean toward the Chargers covering the 10-point spread.