Before placing your Week 10 NFL pick, keep in mind that while the Raiders' season of discontent continued last week as they got ripped by the Broncos, the Chargers enjoyed their bye week away from the gridiron.
Oakland Raiders (0-9 SU, 4-5 ATS)
As miserable as the Oakland Raiders season has been they have actually rewarded those placing NFL picks on them in four of nine games this season. However, last week was not one of those occasions as the Raiders hosted the bucking Broncos and were eviscerated to the tune of 41-17 and never even sniffed an ATS cover despite getting a nine-point head start in NFL odds.
Defensively the Raiders did a decent job early, limiting the Broncos to a pair of field goals when inside the red zone but after that Peyton Manning did what he does best and torched Oakland for five passing TD’s and 340 yards through the air. Oakland’s defense did manage to pick off Manning twice but their offense was overwhelmed by a swarming Broncos defensive front.
Rookie QB Derek Carr was 30-of-47 and passed for 192 yards with two touchdowns and two picks. But perhaps a more telling tale was his inability to throw deep. Carr was only 4-of-16 or 25% on throws traveling more than five yards downfield. Among qualified quarterbacks it was the lowest completion percentage in that category in a game this season. Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew were stuck in neutral throughout as the Raiders run game was virtually non-existent.
San Diego Chargers (5-4 SU, 5-4 ATS)
It is easier to enjoy your bye week when you are coming off a victory but when you get throttled 37-0 before the break it makes for a long couple of weeks. But the Chargers have a golden opportunity to shake free from their midseason malaise by hosting the winless Raiders in front of their devoted fans at Qualcomm Stadium this Sunday.
Phillip Rivers, who was the subject of much discussion earlier this season regarding his viability as an MVP candidate, will no doubt be licking his chops to challenge the pedestrian Raiders pass defense (ranked 18th) and forget his dreadful 12-of-23 for 138 yards with no touchdowns and three interception performance against the Dolphins two weeks ago. The Bolts have dropped three straight and have failed to cover the number in NFL odds over the course of their last four consecutive games including their last win on October 12th when they narrowly edged these same Raiders in Oakland 31-28 where they disappointed their backers as seven-point betting favorites in NFL odds.
Free NFL Pick
Let’s begin by stating what these teams have in common. Neither club can run the ball with the Chargers averaging only 81.8 yards per game (30th) while the Raiders are at the very bottom of the barrel amassing an average of a woeful 62.1 yards on the ground. Both teams are below average in containing the run with San Diego ranked 17th and the Raiders currently clocking in with the 26th ranked run stop unit. Therefore, both teams may want to try and use this game as an opportunity to ramp up their rushing attack understanding that the run defenses they will be facing are susceptible to the ground attack.
However, if Phillip Rivers and company are able to get their aerial assault going against an 18th ranked Raiders pass defense it will be huge hill to climb for the rookie QB to match touchdown passes against a Chargers pass defense that ranks 10th in the NFL allowing only 229.1 yards through the air. The Bolts should be well rested for this one while the Raiders will be plodding through yet another game in an interminable season. As of this writing the oddsmakers have saddled the Chargers as 10-point favorites in NFL odds and that number sounds just about right. However, this could be a good opportunity to get down on a Chargers team that is capable of playing so much better than they have performed over the last several weeks particularly when you consider they are coming off a much needed bye week.
Free NFL Picks: Play the Chargers -10 in your NFL picks at Pinnacle