Tonight is the last Thursday night game of the season and much like the other Thursday night games this year, this one will be one to skip.
The San Diego Chargers travel north to take on their in-state and division rival, the Oakland Raiders. While neither team has a shot at the playoffs, both want to finish the season on a strong note and give the fans something to look forward to next season besides possible relocation.
The Raiders’ future looks extremely bright with young stars such as Derek Carr, Latavius Murray and Amari Cooper but the real player to watch is Khalil Mack. The linebacker/defense end has been an absolute beast this season, totaling 15 sacks so far and with two more games to play, who knows how many he will finish with.
No doubt the Raiders are a team on the rise and with a bright future, but as for their counterpart tonight, the same can’t be said.
The Chargers have looked awful most of the season, even QB Philip Rivers, who is normally a star, has struggled. True, injuries derailed much of the offense talent that the team possessed, but this season has been telling and the future is concerning.
Besides Rivers and Keenan Allen, the offense doesn’t have anything going for it. Antonio Gates has finally started to succumb to injuries and aging and while Danny Woodhead had a great week 15, his season has been very up and down. The 15th overall pick in last year’s NFL Draft, Melvin Gordon has been atrocious this season and he could start next season as the backup.
If the Chargers don’t land some kind of star with their high draft pick next year, it could be a dim future regardless of where they are in California.
As for tonight’s game, as I’ve written all season…talent wins out and while the Raiders are young, they are no doubt more talented than the Chargers. Oakland’s offense will be able to put points on the board and while San Diego should be able to keep up, look for Mack to come up with a big play of two to tip the game in the Raiders favor. Oakland wins 31-24.
UPDATE-3:00 AM 12/27
The regular season is coming to an end, but great NFL games are still to be played before the playoffs begin next month. In fact, almost all the playoff seeds, in both conferences, are still to be determined over the next two weeks, making a very exciting end of the season for us football fans.
Last night, the Redskins punched their ticket to the playoffs with a convincing win over the Eagles to lock up the NFC East crown and the 4th seed in the playoffs. With wins this weekend, the Panthers and Cardinals would lock up the first and second seeds respectively. In the AFC, it’s a whole lot crazier but for the Patriots, if they win today then they are the one seed and the playoffs would go through Foxboro…again.
We will have to wait and see how it all eventually plays out, below are my week 16 picks.