Tonight’s NFL contest features two teams out of California as the LA Chargers look to win their fourth consecutive Thursday Night Football game against their AFC West Rivals, the Oakland Raiders. With the way they’ve been playing, they could very well do it, too.
AFC West Rivals Clash In TNF
The Chargers are coming off a win against the Green Bay Packers and that victory gave them back-to-back wins. Philip Rivers, who will start at quarterback, has put at least one pass in the end zone in 23 consecutive games against the Raiders, the third-longest stretch for any QB against a single opponent.
Running back Austin Ekeler is the leader in receptions and receiving yards – 55 and 530, respectively – against all others in his position and is tied at five for the running back with the most touchdown receptions. Put him together with Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, and there emerges a clear image of the power the Chargers have with their backs, as they each of over 500 receiving yards on the season.
That power, however, is offset by a long list of injuries picked up in the NFL. Two defensive tackles, Cortez Broughton and Justin Jones are out and two more linesman, one on offense and the other on defense, are questionable. Linebacker Denzel Perryman is also questionable for the game. Plenty of other injuries are going to deplete the possibilities, putting the chances of the Chargers taking the win weaker.
The Raiders picked up Tyrell Williams as he became a free agent and he could be key to any offensive plays the team concocts against the Chargers. That’s because he wore the Chargers uniform before becoming a Raider. He’ll have key insight into how the team works and how head coach Anthony Lynn thinks.
The Raiders have their share of injuries to deal with, as well. Center Rodney Hudson is questionable, as are wide receiver Dwayne Harries and offensive tackle Trent Brown. Two defensive ends and a linebacker have already been removed from tonight’s roster entirely, adding to the troubles.
Both of these AFC West rivals are coming off of wins – the Chargers against the Packers for their second straight victory and the Raiders against the Detroit Lions that broke a two-game home losing streak. Tonight’s game is going to be the last one played at night at the Raiders Stadium, the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum, ahead of their move to Las Vegas and Allegiant Stadium next year. This is going to make them want to finish their time in Oakland on a high note, ready to do whatever it takes to secure the win.
Of course, this could be the last season the Chargers are playing in California, as well, so they may want to prove something, also. There’s talk about the team possibly considering a relocation to London, but that is in the very early stages and no plan has even been laid out yet.
In addition to wanting to give their fans one last thrill in Oakland, the Raiders are beginning to realize something else. They actually have a shot at the playoffs, currently sitting in second in the AFC West behind their rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs. They are on the edge of being in position and have several games coming up that should be easy victories. Grab one tonight, and they’ll be a step closer. That possibility is real, too, and the Raiders are already favored to win at -125. There’s not much reason to believe they won’t take the win tonight.