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NFL Week 15 TNF pick: Chargers are live underdog so take the points vs. Raiders

Raiders strong safety Johnathan Abram  against the

Raiders strong safety Johnathan Abram  against the Colts at Allegiant Stadium on December 13, 2020 in Las Vegas. Credit: Getty Images/Chris Unger

L.A. CHARGERS (4-9) AT LAS VEGAS (7-6)

TV: Ch. 5, NFL, 8:20 p.m.

Las Vegas by 3.5; O/U: 53.5

If Jon Gruden the broadcaster was calling this game, he would ask Jon Gruden the Raiders coach, "What's going on with your team?"

Las Vegas, the only team to beat Kansas City this season (40-32 in Week 5), nearly did it again in Week 11 before losing, 35-31, on a late TD drive. Since that loss, these have been the Raiders' results: 43-6 loss at Atlanta, 31-28 last-second win at the winless Jets and 44-27 loss to the Colts last week at home. If not for Gregg Williams' infamous all-out blitz call, Las Vegas would enter on a four-game skid.

The Raiders just fired their defensive coordinator, and sometimes that can provide a spark, but on a short week? Not so sure. Things don't get fixed in 96 hours.

The Chargers enter off a rare last-second win, 20-17 over the Falcons. L.A. has a phenomenal rookie quarterback in Justin Herbert, some big playmakers on offense and defense and . . . a coaching staff that continues to get in its own way. Clock management and in-game decision making is not their strong point, so it's always risky backing the Bolts. But the Raiders give me no choice.

In addition to the Raiders' recent struggles, the AFC West rivals played a close contest in Week 9, a 31-26 Las Vegas win after a Chargers' last-second touchdown was overturned. Herbert, Keenan Allen and Austin Ekeler should have success against this reeling Raiders defense. Expect another close game that won't be decided till late. The Chargers are a live underdog so take the points.

The pick: Chargers

STAFF PICKS

Bob Glauber: Raiders

Tom Rock: Raiders

Al Iannazzone: Raiders

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