Thursday, November 10, 2011

NFL 2011: Week 10 Thursday Night Football

As you may know, my associate editor Richard, a friend of ours nicknamed Comfortable Kid, and I are tracking our picks this year, with posts going up each Sunday at 11 am. (You can see our Week 9 picks, along with an explanation of our scoring system, here.)

Well, Thursday night football begins today, and so, in addition to our usual Sunday posts, we'll be putting up a post with our pick each Thursday at around this time.

(I'm feel somewhat mixed about Thursday football. On the one hand, it just seems wrong, and it's one less game for the weekend. And I don't like having any of my fantasy players going on Thursdays, preferring to have them all go Sunday and Monday. It's just too early in the week, if you will. (For example, I took San Diego's Mike Tolbert out of my lineup this week, though that's also partly to do with the fact that he'll be splitting carries with Ryan Mathews and isn't in my view a great start even against the terrible Raiders.) On the other hand, it's football!!!!! And it's nice to be able to watch a game on its own, as with the Sunday and Monday night games, without the competition of other games. When the Steelers are playing, I'm focused on that game, but otherwise I'm flipping around from game to game Sunday afternoons.)

Here are our picks for tonight's Oakland at San Diego game:


San Diego.

San Diego (4-4) has been wildly inconsistent this year: won one, lost one, won three, lost three. They've beaten all bad teams (Minnesota, Kansas City, Miami, Denver) and lost to all good ones (New England, N.Y. Jets, Kansas City, Green Bay). (KC was a bad team but is now a fairly good one. Maybe. But San Diego really should have won that second game against the Chiefs. Remember Rivers's awful fumble?) Oakland is a bad team. And, to make matters worse, the Raiders won't have RB Darren McFadden tonight. Oh, and Carson Palmer is not a good QB and hasn't been one for years. The Raiders gave up a ton for him, which only tells us there's badness in the front office to go along with badness on the field. There's no way the Chargers lose this game at home.

Unless Rivers throws 3+ interceptions and Norv Turner coaches like, well, Norv Turner, both of which are distinct possibilities.

Still, I'll say San Diego 34-16. (Which would mean a breakout. With the exception of the Patriots game, a 35-21 loss, all San Diego games this year have been decided by 10 points or fewer, including last week's crazy 45-38 shootout loss to the Packers. In other words, they haven't been outmatched in any game, with one exception, but nor have they been dominant, or at least not dominant on both sides of the ball. (Their offence last week was certainly dominant, even if Rivers helped the Pack with a couple of pick-6s.) And even the Pats game seems weird. How did New England, with what we now know is a horrible secondary, slow down the Chargers' passing game? Oh, right, Belichick completely outcoached Turner. That's much less likely to happen tonight. Oakland's Hue Jackson is no Bill Belichick.

Enjoy the game. If you can. I must say, I'm not terribly enthused by this matchup. But... football!!!!!


San Diego.

San Diego played Green Bay remarkably tough, and might have won with fewer mistakes. And Carson Palmer is just not ready to play QB for Oakland, not yet, maybe never. What a strange year it has been.

Just one comment on last week: Can everybody stop trying to name the second-best team in the NFC behind Green Bay? Last week it was the Eagles. Next week, who knows? I guess they need something to fill up an entire week on the NFL Network. Let's all just admit that after the Packers there is no clear answer. Let's let 'em play and see how things go. End of rant. 

Comfortable Kid

San Diego.

Please, Chargers: Don't make me look bad for the umpteenth time this season. I can't take it. This has to be a win. And it has to be a win by at least 10 points. Give me a break. Lord pass me by. Serenity now.

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