The Pro Picks: Chargers don’t have the numbers to beat Raiders
It has been a long season for the San Diego Chargers. The team has struggled on the field, compiling a disappointing 5-8 mark that leaves them out of the playoffs again.
Coach Mike McCoy is likely to be axed at season’s end, and, after San Diego voters overwhelmingly rejected a proposal for a downtown stadium, the team itself may be headed out of town.
Unfortunately for McCoy, his team was done in by a rash of injuries that wreaked havoc on its roster. When cornerback Brandon Flowers went on injured reserve Wednesday, he joined an incredible 17 teammates on IR.
It also seems San Diego can’t catch a break. Not only do the Chargers face a highly motivated Oakland team battling for the AFC West crown, they also catch them well-rested and coming off a Thursday night loss at Kansas City.
The Raiders are a 3-point favorite and get our call to roll over the undermanned Chargers. Lay the points.
In other games:
Miami (-2) over N.Y. JETS — Miami’s playoff hopes took a big hit with quarterback Ryan Tannehill out for at least a couple of games with a knee sprain. But the Dolphins should still get past a Jets team playing out the string.
DALLAS (-7) over Tampa Bay — The Dallas offense has lost its mojo in back-to-back road games against the Vikings and Giants, but a little home cooking should get the Cowboys back in sync.
N.Y. GIANTS (-4) over Detroit — Detroit’s Matthew Stafford struggled after dislocating his right middle finger last week, and he could have problems facing a Giants defense playing great ball down the stretch.
BALTIMORE (-5 1/2) over Philadelphia — If the Ravens win their final three games, they’ll capture the AFC North title. Step one should be the easiest, hosting a Philly team that has lost four straight and six of seven.
Green Bay (-5 1/2) over CHICAGO — The Packers are rolling now, and even with quarterback Aaron Rodgers slowed by a calf muscle injury, they’ll outpoint the 3-10 Bears.
MINNESOTA (-4) over Indianapolis — Despite a midseason slump, the Vikings are very much alive for an NFC playoff berth. Minny’s defense should get all over Indy QB Andrew Luck, who’s hampered by a sore right shoulder and elbow.
Cleveland (+10) over BUFFALO — Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III should be sharper with last week’s game under his belt, and Cleveland ought to be fired up after Buffalo defensive lineman Marcell Darius guaranteed a Bills victory.
Tennessee (+5 1/2) over KANSAS CITY — Marcus Mariota had a horrible game last week, but his return to form makes the head-start too tough to pass up.
Jacksonville (+6) over HOUSTON — The Texans, battling the Titans and Colts for the AFC South title, should get past the struggling Jags. But laying this many points with Brock Osweiler under center is an iffy proposition.
New Orleans (+2 1/2) over ARIZONA — The Cards’ release of popular receiver Michael Floyd after a DUI arrest stunned his team and may impact this game. The Saints are overdue for an offensive outburst.
ATLANTA (-14) over San Francisco — The Falcons, without injured top receivers Julio Jones and Mohamed Sanu, put up 42 points on the road against a decent Rams defense. With Sanu back and Jones close, the hosts should easily outpoint the hapless 49ers.
Patriots (-3) over DENVER — With the Pats headed for the AFC’s top seed and the Broncos on postseason life support, they are an easy pick. But tread lightly here: Denver is the only team Tom Brady has a losing record against, and he’s just 2-7 in the Mile High City.
Pittsburgh (-3) over CINCINNATI — The Bengals are riding a two-game winning streak, but the Steelers are a much sterner test than the Eagles and Browns. Pittsburgh would love to plunge the final dagger in Cincy’s playoff hopes.
WASHINGTON (-6 1/2) over Carolina — After three in a row on the road, the Redskins remain in playoff contention. Washington has won four straight at FedExField, which gives them the edge in a must-win game. Lay the points.
Last week: 10-5-1