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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey  

Sortable Player Projections | Game Predictions Summary | Projections by Team

OAK at SD (thu) DEN at KC * NE at NYJ * STL at CLE
* ARI at PHI * DET at CHI * NO at ATL * TEN at CAR
* UPDATED * BUF at DAL JAC at IND * PIT at CIN MIN at GB (mon)

Prediction: OAK 20, SD 24 - Thursday game

Players to Watch: Raiders Wideouts

Imagine - this is for the lead in the AFC West where San Diego, Kansas City and Oakland are all 4-4 and even Denver is just 3-5. This division is not going to provide the AFC Champion and it won't likely even create a wild card team but it does have to produce a division winner. The Raiders are 2-1 on the road while the Chargers are 3-1 at home.This will be a very interesting game that could easily end up in many different directions. Not having Darren McFadden hurts but so does the Chargers three game losing streak.

The Raiders swept the Chargers last season and won 28-13 in San Diego.

Oakland Raiders
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 @DEN 23-20 10 @SD -
2 @BUF 35-38 11 @MIN -
3 NYJ 34-24 12 CHI -
4 NE 19-31 13 @MIA -
5 @HOU 25-20 14 @GB -
6 CLE 24-17 15 DET -
7 KC 0-28 16 @KC -
8 Bye - 17 SD -
9 DEN 24-38      
Raiders Report | Statistics | Roster
OAKLAND at SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Carson Palmer - - 250,2
RB Michael Bush 70 20 -
WR Jacoby Ford - 60,1 -
WR Denarius Moore - 50,1 -
WR Darrius Heyward-Bey - 20 -
PK Sebastian Janikowski 2 FG 2 XP -
Pregame Notes: The Raiders were clicking along until Jason Campbell was injured in week seven as was Darren McFadden. These last two games have been painful losses at home and a short week without McFadden still will not make it any easier. There is optimism about this offense with Palmer behind center but it may take another week or more before it gets into a groove and mistakes start to dwindle.

QUARTERBACK: On the positive, Carson Palmer passed for 332 yards and three scores in only his first start for the Raiders but coupled with his partial game of week seven, he already has thrown six interceptions. It is still a work in progress but Palmer did post the biggest fantasy game of any Oakland quarterback this year in only his first full game. The visiting Broncos are notoriously bad against the pass anyway, so the real Palmer will take a few games to be established.

The Chargers have been good against the pass when not facing Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers. Until we know more, figure Palmer for a decent game here since the rushing effort should have a tougher time and this is how the Raiders will need to compete.

RUNNING BACKS: Darren McFadden remains out with his foot injury and has not started running yet let alone practice. That will leave Michael Bush as the starter again this week with a little help from Taiwan Jones. Bush is a more than adequate replacement for McFadden and has rushed for right at 100 yards in each of the last two games - both at home though. He also scored via a pass in the Denver loss when he caught two passes for 33 yards. Bush will get nearly all the action this week as he did against the Broncos.

The Chargers will be primed for this game and have been solid against the position in all home games. Only one runner has scored in San Diego and only Adrian Peterson (16-98) managed to gain more than 66 yards in San Diego. Bush will have moderate yardage but should fall back from the last two weeks and likely not score.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Whatever happened during the bye week has not been disclosed but something changed without explanation. Darrius Heyward-Bey was on a nice string of games where he had 80+ yards in three of four most recent matchups and had become the clear #1 wide receiver. We finally, begrudgingly if not in shock admitted he had turned a corner and maybe was no longer a bust. And then he had just one pass and no catches against the Broncos in a game that he was almost never on the field. Jacoby Ford (5-105, TD) started the game in his place and basically matched his total yardage of the season going into the game. Denarius Moore was the other starter and had 12 targets with four catches for 61 yards. Despite repeated questions, the Raiders insist that he was not benched but was "just playing behind" the others even though he had been"way out ahead" of them for the past month.

The Raiders have also added aging T.J. Houshmandzadeh to the roster to give Palmer someone his own age to talk with and to lend some veteran presence. But throw in DHB, Chaz Schilens and Louis Murphy too and this could end up a very hard set of receivers to predict. For now there is only one game to measure with and that says Ford and Moore are the only two worthy of any fantasy consideration.

The Chargers have been very good against the position especially at home (Aaron Rodgers aside) but this is where the Raiders will need to attack and Palmer is going to add more to the equation than Campbell would. Relying on any of these wide receiver for more than moderate yardage is very risky with nearly nothing to go on. Ford and Moore should be the only wideouts that enter the game with bankable potential but this offense is still in the "starting over" stage.

TIGHT ENDS: There is no fantasy value here and along with the odd disappearance of Heyward-Bey was the decision to bench Kevin Boss and use Brandon Meyers last week. They never get much more than one catch anyway but another sign the Raiders are making themselves over on the fly.

Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 21 4 17 30 18 23
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 12 8 13 22 22 30

San Diego Chargers
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
  Opp Score   Opp Score
1 MIN 24-17 10 OAK -
2 @NE 21-35 11 @CHI -
3 KC 20-17 12 DEN -
4 MIA 26-16 13 @JAC -
5 @DEN 29-24 14 BUF -
6 Bye - 15 BAL -
7 @NYJ 21-27 16 @DET -
8 @KC 20-23 17 @OAK -
9 GB 38-45      
Chargers Report | Statistics | Roster
SAN DIEGO vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers - - 310,2
RB Ryan Mathews 80 50 -
RB Mike Tolbert 20,1 20 -
TE Antonio Gates - 70,1 -
WR Vincent Brown - 40 -
WR Vincent Jackson - 90,1 -
WR Patrick Crayton - 30 -
PK Nick Novak 1 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The loss to the Packers was bad enough but it came thanks in part to two interceptions returned for a score while Rivers had a career worst three on the day. The good news is that two of the recent losses were on the road and still very close and then everyone loses to the Packers. Coming up is a much more manageable stretch of games. Unless Rivers figures out why the offense is sputtering, no easier schedule may be enough.

QUARTERBACK: While Philip Rivers passed for a season best 385 yards and four touchdowns in the Packers game, he arguably also lost the game with those interceptions. He currently stands at 11 touchdowns against 14 interceptions and he has lost three fumbles along the way. The return of Antonio Gates would seem to help but only in boosting yardage - not reducing errors. Rivers has been all over the map in production including two games without a score and once only producing 179 yards against the Jets. He's inconsistent at best.

The Raiders secondary is less effective than in recent years and have always allowed big yardage and at least one touchdown in a road game. River should end up with a couple of scores and good yardage and it could be a big game - it depends on which Rivers shows up this week and which team he gives the touchdowns.

RUNNING BACKS: Ryan Mathews is expected back from his groin injury in week eight. He almost played in the Packers tilt but the coaches decided to give him one week of rest. His presence should help the effort since he had been good for 100+ total yards in his healthy games and offers an outlet for Rivers as a receiver as well. Mike Tolbert will return to being the goal line touchdown hawk that detracts from what Mathews could accomplish himself.

The Raiders have been generally weaker against the run and that should provide Mathews with a nice showing and a score for Tolbert. Mathews is the fantasy start in this group. He has produced over 130 total yards in home games.

WIDE RECEIVERS: Fantasy owners were getting weary after Vincent Jackson had three straight games of under 50 yards and no score and some even benched him. But those three games were on the road and his previous home game was 108 yards and a touchdown on the Dolphins. Jackson likes home. Enough so that he posted a league leading seven catches for 141 yards and three touchdowns in the Packers game. Malcom Floyd may miss this week with a hip injury that was initially called a hip pointer but later was deemed a bruised hip. No matter - he was not able to play last week and wasn't around for early practices this week. I will assume he will not play and he's been below the fantasy radar anyway.

Vincent Brown had a season best four catches for 79 yards last week but otherwise only had two catches on the season. He is not worth projecting for yet. Another home game against a defense that allows at least one touchdown to a wideout means Jackson is a starter again this week and should bring down another score. Brown could come up with moderate yards if he replaces Floyd.

TIGHT ENDS: Antonio Gates has been back for three weeks and while his foot may not be 100%, it has been good enough to seen him score twice and average 74 yards per game. The last time the Raiders hit the road they surrendered 201 yards to the Houston Texans tight ends. Gates is a must start.

Gaining Fantasy Points SD 9 3 15 14 8 22
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 27 30 16 18 13 26

OAK at SD (thu) DEN at KC NE at NYJ STL at CLE
  BUF at DAL JAC at IND PIT at CIN MIN at GB (mon)

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