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Bolt Beat Week 5 staff picks: Chargers vs. Raiders

Dec 24, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders nose tackle Denico Autry (96) sacks San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) for a safety during the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Oakland Raiders defeated the San Diego Chargers 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 24, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders nose tackle Denico Autry (96) sacks San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) for a safety during the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Oakland Raiders defeated the San Diego Chargers 23-20. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
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Frustration is mounting in San Diego as the realization of the opportunities the Chargers have allowed to slip by is sinking in within the community of diehard fans. How can the team possibly turn things around?

The Chargers haven’t just suffered losses on the field. Keenan Allen, Danny Woodhead, Jeff Cumberland, Stevie Johnson, Branden Oliver, Manti Te’o and now Jason Verrett have all been lost for the season. How many teams in the league could overcome all of those key injuries? It’s been debilitating.

Still, some of our staff has some faith against the Chargers in Week 5, even against a resurgent Oakland Raiders team that is clicking on all cylinders. Let’s take a look at this week’s staff picks. The season record for each staff member in picking games is in parenthesis.

John Burress (1-3): “No Verrett, No Te’o, No Woodhead, No Allen, No problem. Bolts defy the odds for a close win against a good Raider team. Chargers by 3.”

Bill Burgin (1-0): “Oakland is 3-1, the Chargers are 1-3. This game is going to come down to who wants it more. Does Oakland have what it takes to finally prove that they are a legitimate threat in the division, or are the Chargers going to finally learn how to close a game out? I expect a lot of offensive production, and very little defense. Ultimately, I think that the Chargers are going to show the rest of league that the late game losses are just a string of bad luck mixed with poor execution, and find a way to win this. Chargers 27-Raiders 24.”

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Sean Begler (1-3): “My picks are 1-3 through the first 4 games of the season, equal to the Chargers season. What can I say, I’m a true fan. This week I might have to steer away from my fandom and pick a sure winner. The Oakland Raiders are an improved team this year. Take note Chargers front office, that’s how you build a team. The Raiders offense has weapons, and plenty of them. Wide receivers Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree are going to be up against a secondary missing nearly all of their starters. With no real pass rush from the Chargers and a well put together offensive line, the Raiders might find it too easy finding yardage. This game goes to the Raiders, 27-16.”

Conor Denton (1-2): “I’m always optimistic when it comes to my predictions but last week was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I just have no more faith in this team until they earn it back. The environment San Diego’s coaching staff has raised includes one of conservatism and weakness. Oakland is the exact opposite. Ready to risk an entire game on one play (week one against the Saints ring a bell?). I expect Rivers to keep it close, but San Diego will probably head into a short week 1-4.  Final Score: 35-31. Oakland comes out on top with another late game comeback because why not right?”

Derek Anselmo (1-2): “Chargers have yet to show they can close a game out. Playing against  a red hot Oakland Raiders team, in the black hole? I have to give this game to Oakland. I don’t like how our depleted defense matches up against the Raiders offense. Raiders 30 , Chargers 21”

Kevin Valenzuela (0-0): “I believe with an array of injuries from both sides of the ball, especially to Jason Verrett, the Chargers will struggle to stop their offense but their defense will still have a hard time stopping the Chargers. I believe it will be a shootout but I think the Raiders will win just due to the fact they’re healthier and starting to hit their stride. 35-31 Raiders.”

Louis Gorini (3-1): “The Chargers will continue their downward spiral this weekend as they go up against their division rival, the Oakland Raiders. The last time San Diego won a divisional game was in 2014, where they defeated the Raiders in Oakland. Do not look for history to repeat itself. Number 17 will put the Bolts on his back like he normally does, but it will not be enough. The Raiders are younger, more talented, and have a better coach. Chargers 24 Raiders 34.”

Matt Pagels (2-2): “What a completely different atmosphere between two rival teams: one team (Raiders) has been winning in the final minutes of games, and the other (Chargers) are losing in the final minutes of games. Divisional battles are dirty, and this game will be won in the trenches. Derek Carr has been kept clean through four games (just two sacks), while Philip Rivers has been roughed up as of late. I want to believe in the Bolts, but it’s hard to be optimistic. I see the Raiders coming out of this game with a win, but I think it will be close..again.”

Travis Wakeman (2-2): “I have absolutely no reason to pick San Diego in this game. They’re struggling, they’re going on the road and they don’t have their best defensive back. That’s not a good thing against a team that likes to air it out like the Raiders do. Many others have already pointed out things like the difference in coaching styles, and I think this is a game that could actually get out of hand. All of the injuries catch up to the Chargers and burn them here as the Raiders make a statement.  Raiders 35, Chargers 20.”

How do you see this one going? Can the Bolts overcome all of these odds and get to 2-3? Let us know in the comments section below.

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