Thursday Night Football Prediction
Thursday Night Football is back. The first Thursday Night game of the season sees a crucial AFC West encounter as the Oakland Raiders travel to Qualcomm Stadium to face the San Diego Chargers. Both teams are currently 4-4 at the halfway point of the season and with the AFC West still up for grabs, this game could have a major impact on the eventual outcome of the division. Both teams are coming of a loss in their last game and with both Quarterbacks struggling in recent weeks, I see this game coming down to turnovers. Let’s get to the prediction.
4-4 Oakland Raiders at 4-4 San Diego Chargers
The Raiders are hoping to make the Playoffs for the first time since 2002 and at times, have looked likely to do so this season. However, their play has been much too inconsistent and they have managed back-to-back on just one occasion this season. This could be due to their difficulties at Quarterback. After the death of long time owner Al Davis, the Raiders suffered another devastating loss in Week 6 when their starting Quarterback Jason Campbell suffered a broken collarbone. Instead of promoting one of their backups in Kyle Boller or rookie Terrelle Pryor, the Raiders the biggest Trade of the season in acquiring Quarterback Carson Palmer from the Cincinnati Bengals.
What would have been described as a good trade for the Raiders a few seasons’s ago, is no longer the case. Carson Palmer is now 31-years old and his best years seem to be behind him. Palmer hadn’t played football in several months due to his ongoing dispute with the Cincinnati Bengals. Despite this, the Raiders traded a first-round pick in the 2012 draft and a conditional second-round pick in the 2013 draft for Palmer’s services. Palmer has played for the Raiders in their last two games and has already thrown six interceptions en route to defeats against the Kansas City Chiefs and Denver Broncos respectively.
For the Raiders to win this game, Palmer will have to take better care of the football as he struggles to regain the form which saw him named to two Pro Bowls in 2005 and 2006. This game will be even more difficult for the Raiders with the loss of star Running Back Darren McFadden. McFadden has been ruled out of the game with a sprained foot and backup Michael Bush will start in his place. The Raiders Defense will have to have step up their game in this one if they are to have any chance of victory as they are allowing opponents 27 points per game this season.
Things have changed drastically for the Chargers since their impressive 4-1 start to the season. The Chargers are currently on a three game losing streak and are coming off a loss to the Green Bay Packers in which Quarterback Philip Rivers threw three interceptions. Rivers leads the league in interceptions this season with 14 Ints. That’s already more than he threw in the entire campaign last season. Rivers struggles have greatly affected the poor play of the team over the last few weeks and this paired with the continuing list of injuries to key players, has left the Chargers fighting to regain control in the AFC West.
For the Chargers to win this game, Rivers must return to his fine form of last season. In recent weeks, he has a tendency to force the pass when it’s not open and this may be due to the lack of weapons that are currently at his disposal. With Running Back Ryan Mathews struggling with a groin injury and Wide Receiver Malcom Floyd likely to miss a second straight game with a hip injury, Tight End Antonio Gates and Wide Receiver Vincent Jackson will be the only real targets available for Rivers to throw. Despite all the injuries on Defense including Linebacker Shaun Phillips and Defensive End Luis Castillo, the Chargers managed to sack Aaron Rodgers four times last week and will need to get the same pressure on Carson Palmer if the Chargers are to win this game. I see the Chargers putting an end to their losing streak and getting the win in this one. Raiders28 Chargers35
Players to watch out for: Raiders- Wide Receiver Darius Heyward-Bey, Wide Receiver/Return Specialist Jacoby Ford, Defensive Tackle Richard Seymour
Players to watch out for: Chargers- Quarterback Philip Rivers, Wide Receiver Vincent Jackson, Safety Eric Weddle
So that’s the prediction, hope everyone enjoys the game.