Thursday night football is back as the Raiders and Chargers square off tonight in a game that would give the winner the lead in a wacky AFC West. Overall the past few weeks have been very difficult for both teams. The Chargers have lost their last three and haven’t had much rest in between. After a heart breaking overtime loss to the Chiefs on a Monday Night, they played the Packers on a short week and fell short on their wild comeback. Now they play a divisional foe on three days’ rest but if there is any positive out of this for the Chargers, it’s that Philip Rivers seems to have found Vincent Jackson again.
The Raiders road here has been even stranger. At 4-2 and Jason Campbell out with a broken collarbone, coach Hue Jackson traded a king’s ransom for a quarterback he was familiar with in Carson Palmer. Not surprisingly, Palmer hasn’t performed very well since being called out of his “retirement”. Through the two games he has played in, Palmer has thrown six interceptions. However, his arm strength looked much better than it did in recent years in last week’s start against the Broncos. To top it all off, Palmer hasn’t even been able to give the ball to the team’s top playmaker Darren McFadden who has been out with a foot injury. Michael Bush has proven to be a more than capable replacement and should see 20-25 touches in his place.
Overall, both teams are affected by the short week but with the Raiders being on the road and Palmer’s limited time to build a rapport with his receivers, this game is San Diego’s for the taking. However, in typical Chargers fashion, they should certainly make it interesting. My prediction is Raiders 23 Chargers (-7.5) 28.