On Thursday night, the Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers will battle in a game of 2 teams trying to find a way to turn their seasons around. The Raiders enter the game on a 3 game losing streak and have lost each of the last 3 games by at least 16 games or more. Oakland has given up 25 or more points in every game but one this season and is now trying to adjust with having Amari Cooper on offense. The 49ers enter this game at home having lost 6 games in a row. But this is the same team that has 7 players on injured reserve and another 3 players being ruled out (as of this writing). The 49ers could be starting their 3rd string quarterback (Tom Savage) if CJ Beathard isn’t able to go. So lets take a look a few things to watch as game kicks off at 8:20 on Thursday night.
1. Matt Brieda should get the ball early and often
Oakland has given up over 140 yards in a game on the ground 4 times already this season. Before Brieda was injured, he had 2 games in the first 3 that he averaged 9 yards or more per carry and had over 10 attempts. The Raiders gave up over 200 yards on the ground last week against the Colts. The 49ers haven’t run the ball effectively much over the last few weeks. They have had 107 yards in each of the last 2 weeks on the ground. San Francisco should be able to use Brieda and Alfred Morris on a regular basis to pound the Oakland defense.
Oakland has also allowed over 5 yards per rush in each of those games as well. If Jon Gruden can find ways to get his team to blitz at the right time on Thursday night, they could have a chance to keep the 49ers from shredding their defense.
2. Oakland should be able to score points against the 49ers
If Oakland could do one thing right is get the ball down the field. Even though they score 19.7 points per game, Oakland has some solid offensive weapons. If Derek Carr can stay on his feet, he has Jordy Nelson and Jared Cook. If Carr can make a few plays in the passing game early, then the Raiders running game should be able to be effective. If Richard Sherman can’t go for the 49ers, expect Carr to find Nelson for a big play or two against a weakened secondary.
It’s a national television game and even though it’s not the game that we all expected when the schedule was released, there is something to be gained from this game on Thursday night. You should expect a high scoring affair. Both teams are ranked in the 20′s or worse in most of the defensive categories. So in a game like this, you take the better quarterback when the teams are even. Because Carr has been improving over the last few weeks and they had some time to adjust to life without Cooper, I’m taking the Raiders.
Oakland 37 San Francisco 31
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