20* Chargers/Raiders ESPN Late-Night BAILOUT on San Diego +1.5
San Diego vs. Oakland,
09/10/2012 22:15 EDT,
Score: 22 - 14
Point Spread: +1/-105 San Diego
The San Diego Chargers should not be an underdog to the Oakland Raiders on ESPN's Monday Night Football. I believe the Raiders will be one of the worst teams in the NFL this season, and that will show in their opener against an underrated Chargers' squad.
After back-to-back 8-8 seasons, the Raiders shockingly fired head coach Hue Jackson, who clearly had this team headed in the right direction. Dennis Allen, the youngest head coach in the NFL today, takes over an Oakland team that has gotten worse over the offseason.
The offense loses leading rusher Michael Bush (977 yards, seven TD), who also caught 37 balls for 418 yards and a score. He will be missed because the Raiders no longer have that 1-2 punch with he and McFadden. Carson Palmer is far past his prime and has limited weapons. He threw 13 touchdowns to 16 interceptions last year.
The biggest losses come on defense for the Raiders. They part ways with sack master Kamerion Wimbley (63 tackles, 7.5 for loss, 7 sacks). They also lose their top corner in Stanford Rout (49 tackles, 15 pass break-ups, four INT) to the Kansas City Chiefs a year after losing top corner Nnamdi Asomough to the Philadelphia Eagles.
Philip Rivers will pick apart what I believe is the weakest secondary in the NFL. Rivers threw for 4,624 yards and 27 touchdowns with 20 interceptions last season. The Chargers went 8-8 last year, but they have some momentum heading into 2012 after winning four of their final five games last season, scoring 34 or more points in their four victories.
San Diego will be just as strong offensively, and its defense will be improved. San Diego brings back all of their key players from last season, including LB Tadeo Spikes (106 tackles), LB Donald Butler (96 tackles, 8.5 for loss), FS Eric Weddle (88 tackles, 12 pass break-ups, seven INT), CB Antoine Cason (53 tackles, 17 pass break-ups, two INT) and LB Antwan Barnes (41 tackles, 11 sacks).
The Chargers have made some nice upgrades this offseason. They've added WR's Eddie Royal and Robert Meachem to make up for the loss of Vincent Jackson. OG Rex Hadnot started 16 games for Arizona last year and adds solid depth along the O-line. Defensively, they have added LB Jarrett Johnson, who made 16 starts for Baltimore last year. They used their first three draft picks on defense, selecting LB Melvin Ingram (South Carolina) in the first round, along with DE DKendall Reyes (UConn) in the second and S Brandon Taylor (LSU) in the thrid.
San Diego has won 14 of its last 17 meetings with Oakland. The Chargers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. AFC. The Raiders are 2-7 ATS in their last 9 Monday games. The Chargers are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 meetings in Oakland. The underdog is 6-0 ATS in the last 6 meetings. Bet San Diego Monday.