The Chargers and the Raiders are going to paradise tonight for Thursday Night Football. Paradise, Nevada that is. Brand new and beautiful Allegiant Stadium, right outside of Las Vegas, will be the site of this matchup that could determine whether the Las Vegas Raiders have any chance at all of making the playoffs this year.
The Chargers Head Home
While the San Diego Chargers have had some bad luck, this convoluted season and are out of playoff contention at 4 wins and 9 losses, they are not a bad team. Justin Herbert is not a bad quarterback. Tonight he will have a chance to improve his passing numbers against the Raiders secondary, which has not shown us much of anything good so far. But the Chargers are going back to San Diego after playing the next three games and will watch the NFL Playoffs on television.
The Raiders, on the other hand, have managed to maintain a winning record, albeit at 7 wins and 6 losses. But even that might just get them into the playoffs if they win. If they manage to beat the Chargers and either the Miami Dolphins or the Baltimore Ravens drop a game in the next three, it just might happen.
After all, the Raiders have already racked up victories over the New Orleans Saints and the Kansas City Chiefs, two of the top teams in the league this season. But the second time around Patrick Mahomes pulled one out of his hat in the final minutes of the game and the Chiefs beat the Raiders and avoided a season sweep.
That last-minute loss to the Chiefs seems to have taken the air out of the Las Vegas team, as they have managed to lose two more games to the Atlanta Falcons and the Indianapolis Colts since then. Derek Carr and company just barely got by the winless New York Jets.
Close Game By Oddsmakers
Those last three games were so bad that head coach Jon Gruden fired defensive coordinator Paul Guenther, telling his team they needed to hear a “new voice.”
So, who is going to pull it off tonight is an open question. Oddsmakers have the Raiders at -3 but that really only counts for the home field advantage. The Over/Under is set at 53.5 points, which should not be much of a problem if these two quarterbacks are on target tonight.
Carr said in an interview, “I think the main thing is the sense of urgency that our team has right now. We understand that we could have made it easier on ourselves in the last couple of weeks going on this this stretch run. The fact is that we still have a chance.” He added for emphasis, “If that does not get you excited, if that doesn’t get you going, then I don’t know what will.”
Raiders Look To The Postseason
If the Raiders do manage to make the playoffs, it will only be the second time in 18 seasons for the franchise. The team will be playing ‘next man up’ on defense tonight as defensive end Clelin Ferrell, linebacker Nick Morrow, cornerback Trayvon Mullen and safety Johnathan Abram are all out with injuries.
However, if coach Gruden wants to get to the playoffs he will have to figure out a way to make his guys hold on to the ball a little better. The Raiders have 11 turnovers in their last 36 possessions, and ten in the last three weeks, the worst in the NFL.
Actually, the quarterback stats are pretty close between these two teams. Hebert has 3,467 yards passing so far with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. Carr has thrown for 3,343 yards with 24 touchdowns and 7 picks.