This week’s edition of Thursday Night Football gives us a matchup between two teams that’ve really surprised their respective fan bases. The Raiders expected to endure a rebuilding year in 2019, but Jon Gruden has his team playing like fringe playoff contenders. The Chargers had Super Bowl dreams coming into the season, but actually sit a half game behind Oakland in the AFC West standings. This game may function as an early playoff eliminator for the team that comes up short.
The Chargers have been playing better football lately. That’s a big reason why they enter the game as one point favorites. A great deal of that status is based on Los Angeles’ battering of the Packers last week. Interestingly, the Raiders come into the game off a bye. That could easily come into play if the game is close heading into the fourth quarter.
As always, you need to check out our Statschecker site to get all the information you need before locking in your bets. It isn’t the only place on the internet to read about the game, but it is the best. As always, this piece will give you five interesting facts you can learn from the site.
1. The Chargers hate the over
Don’t fall victim to the idea that Philip Rivers and the Chargers offense are going to match up and down the field. This is actually the worst team in the NFL against the over/under line. Los Angeles has only hit the over twice in their nine games on the current campaign.
The Raiders defense also happens to be much improved. They still don’t sport a ferocious pass rush, but it’s progressed to the point of respectability. Rivers is going to feel some heat in this one.
2. Melvin Gordon has woken up
When Gordon first got back onto the field for the Chargers he, quite frankly, disrupted their offense. Fortunately for Anthony Lynn and his coaching staff, Gordon’s play has picked up sharply in recent weeks.
In fact, he’s now scored the team’s first touchdown in his last three games. It’s clear the Chargers are going to do everything they can to establish the run early on Thursday night. The Raiders have to stop the early run if they want to emerge victorious.
3. The Chargers have owned the Raiders
Four game win streaks inside the division are pretty significant. In other words, it’s been a while since Oakland has managed to beat the Chargers. Expect Gruden to use that as a serious motivation tool heading into the game.
The Raiders will need to play with serious energy to overcome their disadvantage in terms of roster talent. Gruden is a master motivator. Don’t overlook that fact before locking in your bets.
4. The Raiders are good at home
A big part of the reason why Oakland is in the playoff hunt is due to their success playing in front of their home fans. The Raiders are 3-1 in front of the home faithful on the year.
The Chargers, however, are a respectable road team. Some might argue that every game they’ve played this season has been a road game given the transient nature of the franchise. Don’t overthink the home field advantage.
5. Tyrell Williams could be the key
The Raiders will ride Josh Jacobs and the ground game as long as they can. Eventually, they will need to hurt the Chargers secondary through the air. That could allow Tyrell Williams to be this game’s X-factor.
Williams has struggled with injuries this year, but he looked healthy last week. He also thrives against AFC opponents. He’s scored a touchdown in his last four conference games. His ability to make big plays down the field will go a long way towards determining a winner on Thursday night.
Stick with the Chargers
I’m inclined to believe that Los Angeles turned a corner last week when they whipped the Packers. Their veteran roster knows they have to win this game to keep their playoff hopes alive.
Of course, that’s not the only reason why you should bet on Los Angeles. The best reason to lay your money on that side of the fence is because of the advantage the Chargers enjoy up front with their defensive line. Look for Joey Bosa and company to pressure Derek Carr into a couple of key turnovers to turn the game in their favor.