San Diego Chargers (1-3 SU, 2-2 ATS) vs. Oakland Raiders (3-1 SU, 3-1 ATS)
Week 5 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, October 9, 2016 at 4:25PM EST
Where: Oakland Coliseum, Oakland, California
By Loot, NFL Football Handicapper, Lootmeister.com
Betting Odds: SD +4.5/OAK -4.5
Over/Under Total: 50
The San Diego Chargers come up north to face the Oakland Raiders on Sunday in AFC West action. The Raiders won their third road game of the young season on Sunday with a 28-27 win over the unbeaten Ravens. With their only loss being at home, they look to give the home crowd something to cheer this weekend. Meanwhile, the Chargers fell to 1-3, again finding a way to lose on Sunday, squandering a two-score lead in the game's final 5 minutes to lose yet another heartbreaker to the Saints, 35-34.
San Diego has a major problem and it doesn't look like it can be fixed. With any luck at all, they'd be 4-0. But when the Chargers have the lead, it's like watching a movie where you hope the lead character doesn't do something, though you know they will because you've seen the movie 50 times. The Chargers don't just lose or fail to cover—they make sure to do so in the most agonizing way possible. If you had San Diego on Sunday, the loss is not just a loss. It's the equivalent of losing like ten games, that's how painful it is.
On Sunday, the SD offense turned the ball over three times in a row late to stage the New Orleans comeback. The final one, when Travis Benjamin coughed it up without being touched was so bad, you'd almost think they were throwing the game if you didn't know any better. When the San Diego offense has the lead and it's late in the game, bad things will happen almost every time. Philip Rivers is a great quarterback. Melvin Gordon has made strides in his second season, though a late fumble deep in Chargers' territory was awful. Despite injuries, there are a lot of things to like about this offense. But what's the point of even discussing it? The most compelling part of this offense is the fact that while they can look good, they can't finish a game to save their lives. And in this league, that's what counts. If you can present the identity of a team in the league's history that closes games worse than the Chargers, we'd like to see it because we can't think of one.
Chargers' head coach Mike McCoy should be canned. When your team acts almost as if it's trying to give away games late, that's a sickness that needs to be eradicated from the team and it starts at the top. You have a team in the Chargers that are good enough to be 4-0. With any other leadership at the top, they would be 4-0. And to throw away 3 games in the first quarter of the season is a disgrace. The defense is no better. Because when the game is on the line, anything that could go wrong will. Fourth down and long will get converted. Someone will fall down. The other team will always get that key penalty. We can sit here and break down the X's and O's, but it would fail to capture the essence of a team that is good enough to win and putridly-awful enough to hand the other team wins when it looked like there was no way they could lose. In their defense, a lot of injuries have made it really hard, with a slew of key starters banged up or out indefinitely.
On the other end of the spectrum, we have an Oakland team led by a real man in Jack Del Rio. He goes for the two to win the game, which he did in week one. He doesn't act like McCoy and wait for the ceiling to cave in like a coward. Against the Ravens, the Raiders took a 21-9 lead in the 4th quarter, before the Ravens stormed back with two straight scores to take a late 27-21 lead. But on the road against an unbeaten Ravens team, the Raiders again showed their moxie with a late TD, as Derek Carr hit Michael Crabtree for 23 yards to take the lead.
Against a much-improved Ravens defense, Carr threw four TD passes on the afternoon, with Crabtree hauling in three of them and growing red-zone target Seth Roberts catching the other. The Oakland run-game was not able to get untracked, but the point is that the Raiders were able to pull out the win on the road—again. There was a time not long ago when the Raiders couldn't win a game on the road for anything and to have three in the first quarter of the season has surely given the Raiders a good feeling. Now at home for the next two weeks against divisional opponents, they look to take their season to the next level.
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The Raiders' defense has tightened up some. Giving up two scores to jeopardize the win on Sunday wasn't a good sign, but they still have improved from their first two games of the season, when opposing teams were running past this bunch. After giving up well over 1000 yards in their first two games, they have held opponents to 748 yards in their last two games—a more reasonable amount in this league. With 37 points allowed in their last two games, this is a part of the team that should lag less behind the offense as the season carries on.
Last season, the Raiders swept the Chargers, winning at home 23-20 in overtime at home. That game also saw the Chargers blow a late lead. Granted, the Chargers match up decently with the Raiders if you were to look at the players and different components of the game. And it has to be hard for people to pull the trigger on the Chargers right now. It's just whether people want to take the chance of being run through the ringer, which is almost a guarantee with the Chargers. With that being said, and maybe we're gluttons for punishment, this looks like a close game and it's hard to not take the points. We're taking San Diego.
Loot's Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I'm betting on the San Diego Chargers plus 4.5 points. Did you know... that you could be wagering on the San Diego vs. Oakland game at discounted odds? There's a better than good chance that you're laying -110 odds (or more) with your book. Stop overpaying TODAY by making the switch to 5Dimes Sportsbook! You will be so glad that you did!