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NFL Week 17 Free Pick + Preview Chargers vs. Raiders

San Diego vs Oakland NFL Handicapping

Well, the Raiders are not in complete control of their destiny here, but a home win against the surging Chargers will go a long way in securing them a playoff spot for the first time since 2002.

They of course need a little help from the Kansas City Chiefs for the second week in a row now if they want to be able and bounce back into the postseason.

strong>When: Jan. 1, 2012, Sunday, 4:15 PM EST
Where: Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum, Oakland, CA
TV: CBS
LINE: -3(Oakland), O/U 47

All hope looked lost just a couple of weeks ago for the Raiders when they were in the midst of a three-game losing streak that just so happened to coincide with the Bronco’s run of dominance.
Oh, but what a difference a week make in the Wild AFC West.

But before the Raiders start popping the corks off any champagne bottles, they will have to take care of their business at home against a very talented San Diego Charger team.

They cannot underestimate San Diego’s ability to win football games. Combine that with the Chargers’ sneak up on you late in the season game plan, and you’ve got a very steep challenge for this Oakland team.

The Raiders’ defense will be pushed to the limit on Sunday. They have not been a very effective unit all season long, allowing over 25 points per game, which is 29th in the league. Not a good number for Raiders fans considering the Chargers have the sixth best scoring rate in the NFL at nearly 25 per game.  [soliloquy id=”82219″]

Philip Rivers leads the Bolts’ offense, and even though he leads the league with a career-high 19 interceptions, only needs 186 passing yards to become the fifth player in NFL history to record at least 4,500 yards in consecutive seasons.

That’s going to be tough on a secondary that had a hard time containing Kansas City’s Kyle Orton, who tossed for 300 yards last week against the Raiders.

Another concern for Oakland will be how to move the ball effectively against a pretty good San Diego defense is in the top ten defenses statistically.

The good news about it is that they do sometimes struggle stopping the run, which has been the bread and butter of the Raiders this season despite the early loss of RB Darren McFadden.

Stand-in Michael Bush is 89 yards away from becoming the 11th running back in franchise history to gain 1,000 in a season, and has done a good job filling the void left by McFadden.

Matt’s Panegyric Prognostication: Raiders 27, Chargers 21– This game will likely be played in the twenties, with a late score being the deciding factor. I do believe that the Raiders will have enough to see off the Chargers in this one with a playoff spot on the line. Look for Bush to have an outstanding day on the ground.

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