Thursday Night Football: Raiders, Chargers meet in game that should be high scoring
Week 15 of the NFL season has arrived and we have a great matchup to get things started.
Justin Herbert and his Los Angeles Chargers offence travel to Las Vegas to take on Derek Carr and a banged-up Raiders secondary.
With the season winding down, and the Raiders in the thick of a playoff race, a win tonight is crucial for Jon Gruden and his team.
But recent weeks indicate that this game could go flying over the total if Herbert and the Chargers' offence shows up.
Let’s get to it.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders
Spread: Vegas -3
Total: 53.5IN NEED OF A SPARK
2020 has brought us a lot of weird and new things.
But the Los Angeles Chargers failing to meet expectations wasn’t one of them.
Yes, another promising season for this franchise is going to end in missing the playoffs as the 4-9 Chargers have already been eliminated from playoff contention.
It’s head scratching to see a team with this type of talent at every position fail year in and year out, and what has been even worse has been seeing this offence struggle in recent weeks.
Los Angeles has been held to 20 or less points in three-straight games, and has put up 30 just once in their last six games.
But all things must come to an end, and I think this Raiders defence might be the answer to all of LA’s troubles.
Vegas is giving up an astounding 37.5 points per game in their last four, nearly 11 points more than their 26.77 per game they had averaged this season before this recent stretch.
The trouble on defence for Vegas led to the firing of defensive co-ordinator Paul Guenther after the team allowed 212 yards rushing, 7.7 yards per play, had no sacks, no takeaways and forced only one punt in a 44-27 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
I don’t expect things to change overnight with Guenther out, and Vegas will be missing a number of key players on defence.
Safety Johnathan Abram (concussion/knee), cornerback Damon Arnette (concussion), linebacker Nicholas Morrow (concussion) and defensive end Clelin Ferrell (shoulder) will all not play tonight.
If this was any other team, I would say hammer the Chargers at +3, but I can’t trust them.
Instead, I like Herbert to go over his total of 279.5 passing yards and love Austin Ekeler to go over 97.5 rushing+ receiving yards.
Vegas has given up 200+ yards on the ground in back-to-back games and gave up 312 passing yards and 128 on the ground when these two teams last met in Week 9.
I like this offence to get back on track tonight.WALLER TIME
It’s only been three weeks since Patrick Mahomes and his Kansas City Chiefs needed a last-second touchdown to beat the 6-3 Raiders.
And since then things haven’t been pretty.
The team followed that game up by getting blown out by the Atlanta Falcons 43-6, and needed a last-second win of their own to get by the winless Jets.
And we’ve already touched on last week’s debacle in Indianapolis.
Carr and the Raiders need to get back on track, and their best pass catcher could be just the player to help them do that.
Darren Waller leads the team in receiving yards, and his seven touchdowns are tied for a team-high with Nelson Agholor.
His 84 receptions are 37 more than any other player on the team and he’s accounted for 117 of Derek Carr’s 440 passing attempts this season.
On the flip side, the Chargers have given up the third-most touchdowns to tight ends this season. And Waller was able to find the end zone when these two teams last met.
Waller has played the Chargers three times in his career and has yet to have a breakout game against them, I think that changes tonight.
With deep threat Henry Ruggs out tonight, I expect Carr to lean on his star tight end even more.
Along with liking Waller at -110 to score a touchdown tonight, I like him to go over 5.5 receptions and over 62.5 yards.
Aside from Waller, I also like Hunter Renfrow, who has seen an uptick in targets these last three weeks to have a good night and go over his total of 4.5 catches.
Renfrow has had 22 targets come his way the last three weeks for 16 catches and 158 yards.The Line
Vegas opened as a three-point favourite and that number has held throughout the week.
The Raiders sit at 7-6 on the season against the number, while the Chargers have been just one game below .500.
If you waited until today to take the over, you are in luck as the number opened at 53 and has dropped one-and-a-half points.
Although the Chargers have had three-straight games go under the number, I believe this Raiders team is an overs machine right now and we could be in for a shootout.
I would be all over the Chargers tonight if they had even a half-decent head coach.
But Anthony Lynn has shown this season that he just can’t win games in this league, and his clock management skills make Andy Reid look like a genius.
I would lean Raiders; they need this win.
Pick ATS: Raiders -3
Props: Herbert O 279.5 Passing Yards, Ekeler O 97.5 rushing+ receiving yards, Waller Anytime TD, O 5.5 receptions, O 62.5 yards, Renfrow O 4.5 receptions