When the schedule came out, a Thursday Night Football game between the Las Vegas Raiders and the Los Angeles Chargers sounded fun.
Division matchup late in the season. Chargers making the short trip to Vegas. Justin Herbert, Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler versus Josh Jacobs, Davante Adams and Jakobi Meyers.
And then, well, 2023 happened. Herbert was placed on IR this week, Keenan Allen isn’t expected to play, Josh Jacobs hasn’t practiced all week, Brandon Staley is somehow still employed, and both teams are tied for last place in the division. Meanwhile, the Raiders have lost three in a row, are starting a rookie quarterback who is playing like…a rookie quarterback, and are coming off a game in which they scored zero points.
As it stands today, the Raiders have the seventh pick in the draft and are headed in the right direction on that front (depending on how you look at things). With it becoming more and more clear that the Raiders don’t have a long-term solution at quarterback on the roster, inching as high as you can in the draft is becoming paramount.
While I know guys like Davante Adams and Maxx Crosby are going to do all they can to win, the Raiders do have some interesting injury decisions to make — as Adams, Crosby, and Jacobs are all listed as questionable heading into Thursday night. Conventional wisdom would say rest your studs and give the young guys a shot to prove themselves — but with head coach Antonio Pierce coaching for his job, who knows what they decide to do.
In other words, welcome to life as a Raiders fan.
On to the picks… (courtesy of BetOnline.AG)
Last Week: 3-2-1, +0.6u; Season: 33-33-2, +0.97u
Under 34.5 (-110)
The Raiders scored 0 points last week and are playing Easton Stick this week — on a short week no less. Need I say more? Expect some ugly offense in this one, especially if the status of guys like Josh Jacobs and Keenan Allen go south on game day.
Ekeler OVER 13.5 carries (+110)
Went over just once in the last four games, but with Easton Stick behind center look for that number to pop up a bit. Prior to the last four games, he had gone over this number six straight games.
Michael Mayer OVER 2.5 receptions (+100)
He has had 16 targets over the last four games, and it just feels like he’s due for a big game. Why not on Thursday Night Football with all (okay some) of America watching?
Jakobi Meyers OVER 4.5 receptions (+110)
We’re getting plus money on a number that Myers has hit in back-to-back games, sign me up. Last week we got burned on total yards with Myers — but he would have hit this reception number so we’ll take this one instead.
Chargers UNDER 15.5 total points (-110)
Easton Stick is throwing to Quentin Johnson, Josh Palmer, Jalen Guyton and Gerald Everett — where, exactly, are the points coming from?! Had to include this as a bonus pick, even if it means we’re essentially tripling down on the Chargers offense being a disaster.
Raiders -3 (-115)
I’ve waffled on this all week because I think Khalil Mack and the Chargers defense is going to cause some serious problems for the Raiders — and yet, I can’t for the life of me figure out how the Chargers score tonight. With Keenan Allen officially out, the Raiders can sell out to stop the run, and that should be enough to give their offense just enough chances to move the ball.