In what could be the final rivalry game between the NFL’s two Bay Area teams, the San Francisco 49ers will host the Oakland Raiders on Thursday Night Football. The 49ers are listed as 3-point favorites at home with an over/under of 46 points.
The 49ers are still looking for their first win since losing Jimmy Garoppolo to a season-ending injury. They were close to locking down a win last week but couldn’t hold onto a 15-3 4th quarter lead against the Cardinals. The 49ers have now lost six games in a row and are struggling to make an argument for them not being the worst team in the NFL.
Of course, the Raiders are also struggling to make that argument. After playing a few competitive games early in the season and getting a win over the Browns, Oakland has lost three games in a row by lopsided margins. Things appear to be moving in the wrong direction, especially with the Raiders trading away star receiver Amari Cooper.
Still A Threat
Despite a profound lack of team success for the Raiders this season, Derek Carr is actually having a decent season. In a losing effort last week, he completed 75% of his passes and tossed three touchdown passes. He also has just one interception in his last three games after struggling with turnovers early in the year. Obviously, the Raiders don’t have much help around him, but Carr is still putting forth a good effort.
This week, he’ll go up against a San Francisco defense that made Josh Rosen look good last week. Rosen was able to throw for over 250 yards and two touchdowns against the San Francisco defense, leading the Cardinals to a comeback win. That has to make Carr and the Raiders feel good about doing some damage through the air on Thursday night.
For much of the season, running back Matt Breida has carried the San Francisco offense. However, injuries have started to limit both his touches and productivity. He’s rushed for no more than 61 yards in a game over the last five weeks. Breida is also listed as questionable for Thursday’s game, so even if he plays, he’s clearly not at 100%.
The Oakland run defense is vulnerable, to say the least. However, a healthy Breida may be needed to expose that weakness. If the 49ers can’t get back to running the ball with great success, it puts way too much pressure on quarterback C.J. Beathard, who has been turnover prone for much of his career. Beathard has proven himself capable of moving the ball at times. But he doesn’t have help around him and doesn’t always take care of the ball.
Battle of the Bay
There are few reasons to trust either of these teams to actually win Thursday’s game. Both have been particularly dreadful in the 4th quarter of games when they’ve had a chance to win. In the end, it may be best to go with the team that has the better quarterback, especially when they’re the underdog. Bet on the Raiders +3 to at least beat the spread on Thursday night.