NFL Picks: Chargers vs. Raiders

Jason Lake

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 3:53 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 2, 2013 3:53 PM UTC

The San Diego Chargers are back in business. The Oakland Raiders? They were beating the NFL odds until their backfield fell apart.

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to October 1 inclusive:

11-10-1 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

2-4 Totals

Everything was going according to plan. The Oakland Raiders were up 14-0 on Washington after the first quarter; QB Matt Flynn was on a roll, and the Raiders special teams came up with a blocked punt for a touchdown. Then everything went to hell in a handbasket. RB Darren McFadden (hamstring) and RB Marcel Reece (knee) were both knocked out of the game, and Washington ended up winning 24-14 as a 3.5-point road fave.

That’s football. Now the Raiders (1-3 SU, 2-1-1 ATS) have to tape themselves up and get back on the gridiron this Sunday against the San Diego Chargers, who have yet to drop the cash this year at 2-2 SU and 3-0-1 ATS. The Week 5 NFL odds have San Diego laying four points at the sewage-infested Coliseum.

Our early NFL consensus reports show nearly two-thirds support for the Chargers, but those people are only betting tiny amounts on Sunday night’s matchup, which has been moved to 11:35 p.m. ET (on the NFL Network, no less) to accommodate the playoff-bound Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball.


Beyond the Matt 

Perhaps the NFL can market this game as a cure for insomnia. Flynn had his moments in his first start as a Raider, but those moments dried out pretty quickly without his top two running backs in the game. The regular box score stats (21-of-32 for 227 yards, one TD, one INT, 83.7 passer rating) look a lot better than the advanced efficiency stats at Football Outsiders (minus-113 total DYAR), which had Flynn ranked No. 28 out of the 31 quarterbacks who played in Week 4.

One game is a brutally small sample size, but at first blush, it seems the Raiders are up a tree without Terrelle Pryor. He was forced to sit out Sunday’s matchup after suffering a concussion in Week 3 against the Denver Broncos; the injury reports at press time have Pryor out indefinitely, but the Raiders are hopeful he’ll be medically cleared to face the Chargers. 

Silent Running

He’d better be. The Raiders are less hopeful about McFadden and especially Reece, which would leave Rashad Jennings as the top tailback for Week 5. Jennings finished the Washington game with 45 yards on 15 carries – although he was also good for 71 yards on eight catches, which is where Jennings has always been the most dangerous. Pretty decent numbers for someone who was drafted in the seventh round (Jacksonville Jaguars, 2009) out of Liberty in the Big South Conference.

Here’s the number that should make Oakland supporters nervous: seven. That’s how many sacks Washington put on Flynn last week. Jennings is a big guy at 6-foot-1 and 230 pounds, but he’s not very good at blocking, and Flynn is not nearly as nimble as Pryor. To make matters worse, center Stefen Wisniewski sprained his knee against Washington and is very iffy for Week 5. Maybe Oakland should just sit Pryor out until after the bye in Week 7. It’s for his own protection.

Also Check out our:

NFL Picks: Week 5 Value Picks

NFL Picks: Week 5 Fades & Games to Avoid

You Stay Healthy, San Diego 

There is a ray of hope for Raiders fans. Although San Diego has improved dramatically on offense, things are different on the other side of the ball. The Chargers went into Week 4 ranked No. 31 in defensive efficiency – mind you, it was Washington sitting at No. 32, so there you go. And the Chargers lost LB Dwight Freeney to a torn quadriceps in their 30-21 win over the Dallas Cowboys (–1 away).

Yuck. The Raiders might have some value here if they can get Pryor back in the lineup, but concussions being what they are, I’ll back the Chargers with my sports picks in this situation. Let’s hope the grounds crew can get the field ready in time. Tell them to bring lots of enzyme cleaner and paper towels. 

NFL Pick: Take the Chargers –4 (–105) at Matchbook


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