Week 15 of the NFL season takes us to the end of an era, as the Oakland Raiders play their last home game before moving to Las Vegas when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars. Game time is set for 4:05 EST on Sunday, December 15 at RingCentral Coliseum in Oakland. Fans in local markets, including Las Vegas, will be able to watch the game on CBS.
Current betting odds list the Raiders as 6.5-point favorites at home with an over/under of 46 points. Be sure to check out a complete list of the Week 15 NFL betting odds.
A few weeks ago, the Raiders looked poised to give their fans in Oakland one last playoff run before skipping town. However, that’s changed with the Raiders suffering a three-game losing streak. Last week’s 42-21 loss to the Titans was particularly disheartening and a massive hit to Oakland’s playoff hopes.
As it stands, the Raiders are 6-7 and will need to win out and get a lot of help in order to make the playoffs. The silver lining is that Oakland’s schedule is manageable. The Raiders will play three teams with losing records to close out the season, although two of those games will be on the road against a pair of AFC West rivals, the Chargers and Broncos. Of course, those games won’t mean much if the Raiders can’t snap their losing streak this week against Jacksonville. A loss in their home finale would all but end Oakland’s season.
As for the Jaguars, they’ve suffered through similar disappointment during the second half of the season. Jacksonville once sat at 4-4, putting them right in the middle of the AFC South race. However, things have fallen apart with the Jags, who have lost five games in a row. It seems to be getting worse every week, as the Jags are coming off a 45-10 thrashing at home at the hands of the 5-8 Chargers.
At 4-9, the seat is starting to get hot for head coach Doug Marrone. The Jaguars are also facing a crossroads with some of their veteran players. Jacksonville’s three remaining games all come against teams with losing records, leaving the door open to finish strong, even if the playoffs are out of reach. If nothing else, the Jags will be desperate to end their losing streak as soon as possible.
To be honest, I wish I could pick against both teams this week because neither team warrants it after their recent play. However, I’ll take my chances with the Jaguars against the spread. With the Raiders losing three straight by at least 21 points, I’m not sure how comfortable I am picking them to win, much less covering a touchdown. I don’t have much faith in Jacksonville either, but the underdog feels like the better option in this game.
Oakland’s biggest problem right now is their defense. They’ve given up a minimum of 34 points in each of their three losses during this losing streak. The Raiders have also conceded at least 24 points in seven of their last eight games. Cincinnati is the only exception to that during that stretch while the Jets, Lions, and Chargers have had no problem scoring points against Oakland.
Even against a sluggish Jacksonville offense, I don’t trust the Oakland defense to maintain a comfortable lead. Admittedly, things look bleak for the Jaguars right now. Dropping Nick Foles for Gardner Minshew didn’t have the desired effect in last week’s loss to the Chargers. However, the Oakland pass defense is one of the worst in the league, which gives me a little bit of optimism for Minshew creating something substantial. Plus, the Jags have a 1,000-yard rusher in Leonard Fournette to help them stay balanced on offense.
On the other side of the ball, I’m not convinced the Raiders will light up the scoreboard enough to cover the spread. They’ve managed a total of 50 points over their last four games, and that’s with one of the best offensive lines in the league and a former Pro Bowler at quarterback. To be fair, running back Josh Jacobs should return after missing last week’s game due to injury. But that may not help the Raiders create explosive plays in the passing game, which has been a problem for the Raiders all season.
Keep in mind that the Raiders are averaging less than 20 points per game on the season. That doesn’t leave much leeway with a 6.5-point spread to cover. Plus, Oakland’s stout offensive line could be tested more than usual, as the Jags are one of the best in the NFL at getting after the quarterback. That could force the Raiders to lean even more on their running game, which isn’t conducive toward pulling away and winning by a comfortable margin.
All things considered, I can’t buy the Raiders as 6.5-point favorites in this game. Oakland is probably the better team and will surely want to give their home fans a win. But the Raiders don’t create explosive plays on offense and they don’t prevent them on defense. If the spread were less than a field goal, I can see leaning toward the Raiders. However, the 6.5-point spread is too much for me, so I’ll take my chances with the Jaguars beating the spread, even in a loss.