The Los Angeles Chargers head north on Thursday night to take on their AFC West rivals, the Oakland Raiders, in a game that could have major implications on the AFC playoff race. The Chargers come into the contest having won two straight, including a dominating 26-11 win over Green Bay on Sunday. Oakland is coming off a narrow victory over Detroit on Sunday in its first true home game in over a month.
Both the Raiders and Chargers are looking up at the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West. The Chiefs are currently 6-3 and due to get Patrick Mahomes back at some point soon, with Oakland in second at 4-4 and Los Angeles in third at 4-5. Both teams are also trying to get one of the two Wild Card berths, which are currently held by 6-2 Buffalo and 5-3 Indianapolis.
The moneyline for this contest has the Los Angeles Chargers -125 and the Oakland Raiders +105. Los Angeles is a 1.5-point favorite playing on the road, while the over/under for the game has been set at 48.5.
Starting To Surge
The Chargers we saw on Sunday against Green Bay is the team most of us were expecting from the outset this season. The offense was clicking under new offensive coordinator Shane Steichen, who was promoted after the team fired Ken Whisenhunt prior to the Green Bay game, finishing with 283 yards passing and 159 yards rushing. Melvin Gordon looked the best he has since ending his holdout, going for a season-high 80 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, the Chargers were much better as well, holding Aaron Rodgers to a season-low 161 yards passing and sacking him three times. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram were strong up front, each recording 1.5 sacks and helping to hold Packers running back Aaron Jones to just 30 yards on the ground. Bosa has 5.5 sacks over his last three games, and Ingram looked great in his second game back after being out a month with a hamstring injury.
Looking For More
The Raiders weren’t expected to contend for a playoff spot this season, even with Antonio Brown, who was released before the season. But the Brown saga seems to have helped bind the team together, and they could be right in the postseason mix with a home win in this one. Derek Carr has been very good this season, throwing for 1,984 yards and 13 touchdowns with just four interceptions. One reason is he’s able to stay upright, taking just nine sacks so far this season after getting sacked an astounding 51 times in 2018.
The offensive line is playing better, and it has a running game to block for as well, with rookie Josh Jacobs opening eyes every week. Jacobs is seventh in the league with 740 yards on the ground, already surpassing Oakland’s leading rusher in 2018, Doug Martin, who had 723 yards in 16 games. The balance of the Raiders’ offense has certainly helped slow opposing teams’ pass rushes as well, though Carr will have to be aware of both Bosa and Ingram in this one.
Chargers Win A Shootout
It won’t quite be a 1980s shootout between Dan Fouts and Jim Plunkett, but these teams can both put points on the board, and I expect them both to have success offensively in this one. The difference in this one will likely be the Chargers’ pass rush. When Carr gets pressure, he can make mistakes, and Bosa and Ingram are coming off a game of disrupting the game of one of the all-time greats at quarterback. I’m taking the Chargers -1.5 to get a big win.