Oakland Raiders vs San Diego Chargers Thursday Night Football Game
Qualcomm Stadium in beautiful San Diego, CA, will be the site for the second installment of Thursday Night Football, as two struggling teams in the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers will meet in a critical matchup. This anticipated intradivisional rivalry game is scheduled to kickoff tonight at 8:20 PM ET (5:20 PM PT) live on the NFL Network.
The AFC West has become last year’s NFC West, in the sense that we could easily see a sub-500 team win the division. Going into 2011 NFL Week 10, three teams sit atop the division at 4-4: the Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers and Kansas City Chiefs. Not to mention the fact that the Denver Broncos are right back in the race with Tim Tebow leading the charge!
So, who’s going to take the bull by the horns and secure this division? Many experts, including myself, believe that the AFC West title will go through one of these two California cities. With the way the Raiders have been playing this year, I would say that they’re my pick to win the division. However, injuries to Jason Campbell and Darren McFadden have derailed those plans.
Despite going out and getting a former first overall pick in Carson Palmer, the Raiders still need to give him more time to learn the offense as well as his receivers. It’s very unfortunate for Raider Nation that RUN DMC had to be injured at the wrong time. A healthy McFadden could have really made life a lot easier for Palmer.
After leading the league in rushing for most of the season, McFadden has been slowed by a foot and ankle injury. This is a common site for Raiders fans, as No.20 has battled foot problems from the moment he played his first NFL game in Oaktown.
“That mid-foot sprain is really something,” said Raiders head coach, Hue Jackson. “You have to get back to walking first before you can do anything, so my main thing is to get him out of that walking boot first. That would be huge progress, and I think he’s closer to having that happen.”
With the division on the line Thursday Night, the Raiders will once again put the pressure on Palmer and backup running back, Michael Bush to pick up the slack. This could prove to be catastrophic, considering the Chargers come in with one of the best pass-defenses in the league.
After nine weeks, the Chargers have allowed a total of 191.6 passing yards, which ranks fourth best in the league. The Bolts are currently listed as 8-point favorites over the visiting Raiders tonight. My prediction is that the Silver and Black will come out and play with a sense of urgency tonight. If McFadden was playing, I would even say that this would be an upset in favor of the Raiders. But without the big guy coming out of the backfield, I don’t have the confidence to predict that.
I’ll tell you what I can predict: this will be a closer game than people anticipate as neither team will win by a touchdown or more, which is what football odds dictate. If you give me the Raiders with a +8 cushion against the Bolts, I would gladly take it. Not so much because I’m sure they can win, but more so, because I believe this will be a very close game, they can keep it closer than 8 points in the end.