Chargers Raiders Christmas Eve Preview
SAN DIEGO PLAYS OAKLAND THURSDAY, AS BOTH FRANCHISES PONDER MOVES TO NEW CITIES!
This could be the LAST EVER meeting between the "San Diego" Chargers and the "Oakland" Raiders! How's that for a storyline?!
Not much else to talk about because both teams are out of the playoff picture. But, so much to talk about with this particular issue:
*San Diego's stadium lease is up...and they clearly want to move to Los Angeles
*St. Louis is in a similar situation...and is also a frontrunner to move to Los Angeles
*Oakland spent some time in Los Angeles in the not-too-distant past, and they're also looking for a new home
The media scuttlebutt right now is that the league wouldn't mind having TWO teams in Los Angeles, just as they do in New York (and as the NBA and MLB do in the City of Angels in their respective sports). Supposedly it's San Diego and St. Louis ready to make those moves (conveniently, one from each conference). Where will Oakland go? For now...that's the big question mark. But...they will be on the move if the grass is greener in a better spot. Financially...that's true when you compare a lot of potential destinations to Oakland. Bet they aren't too keen on the Chargers claiming LA.
What about "on the field" issues? Hey, we're here to pick a winner! Let's see what JIM HURLEY'S key indicator stats say about Thursday Night's San Diego/Oakland showdown. Twas the night before Christmas, and here are the stats!
Won-Lost Records (Strength of Schedule)
San Diego: 4-10 (#6 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)
Oakland: 6-8 (#11 ranked schedule according to Sagarin)
Both teams have played tough schedules according to Jeff Sagarin of USA Today, which means they're potentially better than their won-lost records. San Diego's also been ravaged by injuries. They won't be fully healthy again until next season. Last week's big win over Miami was more about playing their final game in that stadium against a tired and disinterested visitor.
San Diego: 5.5 on offense, 6.0 on defense
Oakland: 5.5 on offense, 5.4 on defense
Huge news that Oakland could manage a positive per-play differential while facing a tougher than league average schedule. San Diego would probably drift back to just below break-even against an average slate. So, edge to the Raiders...particularly on defense. We should also point out here that the fact that Derek Carr is now close to even with Philip Rivers in productivity is very good news indeed for the Silver and Black.
San Diego: -8
San Diego's lack of a running game (and healthy offensive line) has created many high turnover scenarios. No surprise they grade out so poorly here. They're really in BIG trouble against elite defenses. Oakland really isn't elite on that side of the ball...but should bring intensity to a rivalry game. Advantage Raiders in this particular stat.
San Diego: 6-8 ATS (5-9 to the Under)
Oakland: 7-7 ATS (8-4-2 to the Over)
The Chargers were 4-8 ATS until covering against Kansas City and Miami. Credit the defense for those two results. Maybe the team is better right now than their YPP defense is suggesting. The market has surely been missing their Under trend. Oakland's been playing Overs because Carr is having such a good season.
Current Line: Oakland by 4.5, total of 47
Home field is usually worth three points in the NFL. It's often just 2.5 points in divisional rivalry games though, and even two in tight geographic situations within a division. The market is clearly saying Oakland is the better team. You have to decide if too much is being given for home field advantage...or for the perception that the Raiders are now a cut above the Chargers. If San Diego keeps playing defense like they have been recently...that's a tall number to clear for a lame duck favorite.
JIM HURLEY will be working very closely with his West Coast sources to figure out the mindset of each of these teams. That's the true key Thursday night. Who's going to show up on Christmas Eve for a game that doesn't mean anything in the standings?!
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This Thursday NFL game may be meaningless, but there are plenty of big TV previews coming up in the NOTEBOOK...
Friday-Saturday: Bowl Preview...UCLA vs. Nebraska in the Foster Farms Bowl
Sunday: NFL TV Preview...NY Giants at Minnesota (time changed for NBC)
Monday: NFL TV Preview...Cincinnati at Denver
Coming Soon: College Football previews for Baylor-North Carolina, Oklahoma-Clemson, and Alabama-Michigan State!
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