It’s an AFC West matchup on Sunday as the 4-3 Las Vegas Raiders are in Los Angeles for a clash with the 2-5 Chargers inside SoFi Stadium as part of the NFL’s Week 9 slate. This is the first of two meetings between the divisional foes, with the second meeting scheduled for a Thursday in mid-December in Las Vegas.
There hasn’t been a season split between the two since 2013 as the six years since have resulted in sweeps by one of the sides, last year going to the Raiders, who won both contests by a combined nine points.
Getting Easier for the Chiefs
The Chiefs appear to have a stranglehold on the AFC West, sitting at 7-1, a full three games ahead of the second-place Raiders. But with the NFL expanding to 14 playoff teams this year, and the potential to go 16, Las Vegas isn’t in terrible shape. At 4-3, they’ve played the hardest schedule in the NFL through the first eight weeks of the season. As it stands, their remaining schedule only ranks as the 25th toughest.
Right tackle Trent Brown was released from a Cleveland hospital earlier this week. He is back in Cleveland after air entered his bloodstream during a pregame IV, requiring immediate medical attention. No word on Brown’s status yet for Sunday’s game against the Chargers, but if Vegas can get their offensive line back intact, they become that much better for the second half of the year.
The Chargers Giving Away Leads
The Chargers are coming off a loss to another divisional foe, the Denver Broncos. It was the same old story, as LA squandered another lead, the fourth time this season they let a double-digit lead disappear, losing three of them in all. All head coach Anthony Lynn could say was, “We gotta figure it out.”
Justin Herbert has been phenomenal under center, staying neck and neck with Joe Burrow in the Rookie of the Year race, tossing 15 touchdowns in his first six games to tie Deshaun Watson’s rookie record, but the defense hasn’t held up their end of the bargain.
The Chargers have allowed at least 29 points in four straight, and to add injury to insult, lost Joey Bosa to a concussion this past Sunday. On a positive note, they did activate Melvin Ingram off of the short-term injured reserve, and he pitched in with a half of a tackle for loss and a quarterback hit.
Betting Line and Pick
The Chargers are 1.5-point favorites in this one, with an over/under of 53. Despite their SU record, LA is 5-2 ATS coming in and 2-1 at home, while Vegas is 3-1 ATS on the road, including last week’s 16-6 SU win over the Browns in the blistering winds in Cleveland.
If you’re a believer in momentum, you might think this is an easy one and go with the Raiders. But, in the NFL’s wacky world of parity, especially in 2020, this line would say otherwise.
Pick: Chargers -1.5