Free NFL Pick: Oakland at San Diego 12-05-2010

December 5, 2010

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Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers

Sunday December 5th, 2010 4:05 PM EST

Line: San Diego -12

Overview:

The Chargers have made a habit of starting out the season slow and finishing with a full head of steam. After going 2-5, the Chargers have won four in a row. They will look to extend that streak to five this week by knocking off the Oakland Raiders.

The Raiders got the best of the Chargers in their first outing, winning by eight, but after losing two games the way they have, it seems as though the tides have turned since the last time these two teams squared off.

Keys to the Game:

  • What happened to Darren McFadden? He has 18 attempts for 16 yards in his last two games. After running at will against opposing defenses, McFadden has regressed into a sub par runner. If the Raiders are going to win this game, they will need the Darren McFadden who ran for 100 or more yards four times this season. The Raiders offense begins and ends with Run DMC. The passing game is simply a product of how the running game is going.
  • Mike Tolbert has a bruised right hand and is listed as questionable. Whenever a running back has a hand or lower arm injury, there are questions about ball security. It does appear that Tolbert will be able to give it a go. This is good for the Chargers, as Tolbert has posted back to back 100 yard games and has become everything they had hoped Ryan Matthews would be this season. Matthews returns to the lineup this week, but how many touches he will get is yet to be seen.
  • Jacoby Ford has used his blazing speed to rack up two 100 yard games in his last three appearances. On top of that he has proven he can be dangerous in the return game. The Chargers aren’t going to be able to ignore the threat Ford poses. He has world class speed and is changing the course of games with it.
  • When people think ‘elite’ quarterback, very few people bring up Philip Rivers. It’s easy to get caught up in Manning and Brady, as they are in a class of their own. Slightly below them are Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and Philip Rivers. Rivers has yet to throw more picks than touchdowns in any game this season. Rivers succeeds with a lack of targets and seems to make the most of whatever targets he is given.

Key Matchup:

Jason Campbell Vs San Diego’s Front Seven

  • Jason Campbell is, once again, the starter for Oakland. The team has flipped from Bruce Gradkowski to Jason Campbell, when really either can succeed under the right circumstances. With Gradkowski injured, Campbell will likely get the start. Campbell will face a tough defense this week, but if the run game can get going, Campbell will be able to take advantage.
  • The Chargers are one of the best defenses in the NFL. The thing that makes them most dangerous is their pass rushing threat. They come from everywhere and can force mistakes from even the league’s most seasoned quarterbacks. If the Chargers can get constant pressure on Campbell, he is likely to throw multiple interceptions.

Wrap Up:

Before I saw the spread, I figured I was going to take the Chargers. The Chargers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL and their numbers are starting to turn into wins. The Raiders have been in a downward spiral and McFadden has had two terrible performances in a row. That being said, it isn’t fair to give the Chargers a double digit spread.

The Raiders beat the Chargers earlier in this season. That alone gives them confidence enough to know that they can compete with the Chargers. The Raiders are undefeated against division opponents and will look to tack on another victory to remain in the playoff discussion. While I think the Silver and Black will fall short of a victory, it looks like they should find a way to cover.

Free NFL Pick: Oakland +12


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