NFL boff Louis Ross (@LouisRoss67) shares his expert opinion on the Christmas Eve contest between the Chargers and Raiders from Oakland.
San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders | Christmas Day 01.25 | Sky Sports 1
An NFL game to ease you into the mayhem of Christmas Day? Fantastic.
Neither of these teams will make the play-offs but Thursday Night Football often throws up a classic in the most unattractive of match-ups.
Both these franchises may well open next season in Los Angeles, which is something we will find out in January. One looks in far better shape for that move. The other has Phillip Rivers and umm… not a lot else, to be honest.
So the 6-8 Raiders host the 4-10 Chargers in what will be the penultimate appearance of one of the game’s all time greats, Charles Woodson. The eight-time Pro Bowler and INT expert will be a huge loss to the Raiders, wherever they start next season.
This D has another potential great, however. In just his second season, Khalil Mack leads the NFL with 15 sacks. Hard to fathom then how Oakland are just the 19th ranked defence.
To be honest, a lot of the stats for these two teams make little sense. San Diego has the sixth-ranked offence and Rivers sits second amongst all quarterbacks with 4,287 passing yards. Compare that to the 17th-placed Oakland offence and just 3,589 yards from Derek Carr.
Yet San Diego have won just four games all season. They have managed 30 plus points against Jacksonville and Miami but just a single field goal against divisional rivals Denver and Kansas City – that embarrassing defeat to Denver stands out as the Raiders have beaten the Broncos already this year. A 34-20 win against the Jets is also particularly eye-catching.
I like Oakland a lot in this game. It is no surprise to see them as six-point favourites in a match-up that usually sees them as a huge underdog.
There is an awful lot positive about Derek Carr who by the way has 30 TD passes to Rivers 26 despite that 800 yard differential. Michael Crabtree is a quality number two receiver and rookie sensation Amari Cooper, who is the first Raiders wideout to post a 1,000 yard season in over a decade. Latavius Murray is the best back on show here. Just 35 away from a 1,000 yard season himself, he is worth looking at on player props.
I envisage something along the lines of a 28-17 win for the Raiders here. That line of -6 looks good to me at 11/10 (William Hill). I will also certainly be playing overs on Total Points.
A Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. Fingers crossed I can start your weekend acca off with a winner.
San Diego Chargers @ Oakland Raiders – Oakland Raiders -6.5 (11/10 William Hill)
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