The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders are tied atop the AFC West. You wouldn't know it judging by both teams' performances of late though.
The Chargers, who started the season better than they ever have under Norv Turner, have crumbled in the last few weeks.
They almost pulled off an upset last week of the defending champion Green Bay Packers, but they simply made too many mistakes.
The Oakland Raiders, on the other hand, are trying to figure things out with new quarterback Carson Palmer.
It doesn't help at all that running back Darren McFadden can't stay healthy and it reflects in Oakland's play.
Both teams, at 4-4, are battling for a hold atop the division.
Any chance either of these teams have at a postseason berth likely comes from a division title.
Where: Qualcomm Stadium; San Diego, California
When: Thursday, November 10th at 8:20 p.m. EST
Watch: NFL Network
Spread: Chargers -7
San Diego has covered only two spreads all year. Whether it be Philip Rivers making stupid mistakes, or the Chargers defense giving up inexcusable touchdowns, San Diego can't get out of their own way.
Their only two covers this year came against the Dolphins and Broncos pre-Tim Tebow era.
Needless to say, that isn't a great track record.
The Raiders, meanwhile, started the season extremely strong against the spread, but have yet to cover since acquiring Palmer.
However, Oakland is 4-0 against the spread in games against the Chargers in the last three years.
Taking the points is the play.
These two teams have combined to hit the over only seven out of 16 times this season.
In the last four games they are an even 2-2 against the numbers as well.
There really is no safe play with the points here. It's best to go under though because they each went over last week.
Raiders: Darren McFadden, RB - Downgraded to doubtful for game
Chargers: Ryan Mathews, RB - Listed as probable for game
Fantasy Big Plays
Start 'Em - Vincent Jackson, WR, Chargers
The Raiders simply don't have anyone that can cover Jackson. He erupted last week against the Packers and should do much of the same this week.
The Chargers cannot afford to lose a division game at this point and Jackson is their best offensive weapon right now.
Sit 'Em - Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Raiders
As Carson Palmer continues to put things together, he's taken more of a liking to Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore than DHB.
Sleeper - Randy McMichael, TE, Chargers
The Chargers will be without No. 2 receiver Malcom Floyd this week. With his absence, and the Raiders focused on Jackson and Antonio Gates, McMichael becomes a legitimate threat.
San Diego doesn't have a lot of talent out wide, so their running backs and tight ends are key components of the game plan.
Keys to Raiders Win
Limit Turnovers - The Raiders need to figure out how to protect the football with Carson Palmer under center. A lot of that will come with time as he adjusts to his new playbook and teammates, but they won't win games if he keeps putting the ball in the other team's hands.
Consistency - This is mostly due to McFadden's absence, but the Raiders need to establish some form of identity and consistency with the football.
They have no chance to win games if they can't establish a legitimate offensive attack.
Keys to Chargers Win
Limit mistakes - This isn't just about turnovers, it is about mistakes in general. This team has too much talent and too much experience to be losing games the way they do. Philip Rivers needs to not only take care of the ball, but make better decisions altogether.
Complete game - San Diego plays well in spurts. That has to stop. They can score in bunches, or they can go silent for quarters at a time. This starts and ends with their quarterback.
Prediction: Chargers 27, Raiders 20
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