The only reason the sponsors of this battle of last place football teams are at all optimistic is that it happens to be the only NFL game being played and broadcasted on Thursday night television.
The 1-6 Oakland Raiders seem to have given up on their 2018 season as they slowly unload their best players and set themselves up for a decent 2019 draft. First, it was their star quarterback hunter Khalil Mack, then more recently, it was their best receiver Amari Cooper. Next, it could be any other Raider worth a first-round pick.
In Week 8, the Raiders blew a 28-21 fourth-quarter lead against the Indianapolis Colts and lost the game 28-42. Oakland gave up three unanswered touchdowns and actually made the struggling Colts team look competitive. Chances are they’ll do the same for the struggling 49ers.
The 1-7 San Francisco 49ers are coming off a loss to the Arizona Cardinals that left yet another bitter taste in their mouths. Leading 15-10 with less than two-minutes to go in the fourth quarter, the 49ers defense let rookie quarterback Josh Rosen march his offense down the field and score a game winning touchdown with seconds to go in the 15-18 loss.
San Francisco quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was supposed to be the savior of the team, but his season ended with a knee injury in Week 3 and now the 49ers are struggling under backup C.J. Beathard, who couldn’t get it done last season either.
If the Raiders win this matchup, they’ll move to 2-6 and lessen their chance for the first overall pick next draft, so don’t count on that actually happening. If the 49ers come out on top, they’ll be 2-7 but will still be so deep in the NFC West basement that it won’t really matter at all.
Who’s favored to win this Week 9 Raiders-49ers matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to compare the Raiders and the 49ers and attempt to answer those questions and more.
The 2018 Raiders offense is unloading and rebuilding
Quarterback Derek Carr has had to adjust to five new wide receivers, including Jordy Nelson in the offseason and Brandon LeFell in September. Despite that, Carr has thrown for 289.6 yards per game and ten touchdowns. But he’s thrown 8 interceptions, tied for fourth most in the league.
Running back Marshawn Lynch has been place on injured reserve because of a ‘core muscle’ issue. Lynch is now unable to return from IR until Week 16 and his contract is up at the end of the season. Given that the Raiders are more likely to qualify for the number-one pick in the 2019 draft than the playoffs, Lynch may have worn the silver-and-black for the last time. In the meantime, the offseason pickup from the Buccaneers Doug Martin has filled in, averaging 5.7 yards per attempt but only 24.4 yards per game.
Oakland just traded 2x Pro-Bowl wide receiver Amari Cooper to the Dallas Cowboys for a first-round pick in the 2019 draft. Add to that the two first-round picks (2019 & 2020) the Raiders got from the Chicago Bears for superstar outside linebacker Khalil Mack, and it’s obvious the team is looking more towards building their future than at a successful 2018 season.
The 2018 49ers offense affected by injuries
Once starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo ended his 2018 season after tearing his ACL in Week 3, things haven’t looked too optimistic for the 49ers offense. Backup quarterback C.J. Beathard is ranked 30th in passing yards per game with 208.7, and he’s been sacked 18 times already in the five games he’s played.
49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was an Olympic long jumper and who is fun to watch. Goodwin and Beathard only hooked up once against the Cardinals in Week 8, but it was for 55 yards and a speedy touchdown where Goodwin glided untouched into the end zone.
With running back Jerick McKinnon (ACL) on injured reserve since Week 1, Matt Breida has had to fill in. So far he’s ran the ball 84 times for 487 yards and 2 touchdowns while catching 11 balls for 90 yards and a touchdown. San Francisco’s running game is ranked sixth, averaging 133.6 yards per game, while Oakland’s running defense is ranked dead last, allowing opponents to run for 144.7 yards per game. Should be a fun day for Breida.
Raiders Defense ranks 26th in the league, 49ers D ranks 17th
After the Khalil Mack trade, head coach Jon Gruden complained that his defense needed to get after the quarterback more and the football world laughed at the irony. The Raiders defense is last in the league for sacks (7), tied for 24th worst in interceptions (4) and only two other teams have allowed their opponents to convert more third downs (49.4 percent).
One defensive Raider standout is linebacker Tahir Whitehead, who’s combined for 50 total tackles, three for a loss, and one pass defended. Against the Colts last week, Whitehead had six tackles, second only to Oakland linebacker Marquel Lee, who had seven.
The 49ers defense is better than the Raiders, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re all that good. They’ve just intercepted two balls (T-29th) all season and have only sacked opponents’ quarterback 16 times (T-25th). They allow whoever they’re playing to score 29.5 points per game (28th) and advance the ball a total of 262.5 yards (21st).
Keep your eye on defensive tackle DeForest Buckner, who has 4.5 sacks, 27 combined tackles, 10 quarterback hits and a pass defended, as well as linebacker Reuben Foster, an All-Rookie last season who has 29 combined tackles, 3 of those for a loss, a pass defended and 2 quarterback hits.
Special Teams Stats Comparison
Oakland’s rookie punter, Johnny Townsend, was drafted in the fifth-round and has punted 26 times but for a net average of 38.7 yards per punt, ranked 23rd in the NFL.
San Francisco’s punter, Bradley Pinion, is in his fourth year and has been a 49er his whole career. So far, he’s punted 36 times for a net average of 36.9 yards per punt, ranked 29th in the league.
Oakland’s placekicker, Daniel Carlson, was acquired this offseason from the Vikings and now starts for injured starter Mike Nugent (hip). So far, he is 1-for-4, his longest was a 48-yarder. He hasn’t missed an extra point attempt (6/6).
San Francisco’ veteran placekicker, Robbie Gould, in his fourteenth year, has only been a 49er since last season and so far he’s 16-for-17, his longest was a 51-yarder. He’s missed one extra point attempt (13/14).
Oakland’s punt returner, wide receiver Dwayne Harris, is ranked 42nd in the league in return average. He’s returned 9 punts for 120 yards and a touchdown, averaging 13.3 yards per return, his longest was for 49 yards.
San Francisco’s punt returner, wide receiver Trent Taylor, is in his second year and is currently ranked 18th in the league in return average. He’s returned 4 punts for 11 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 2.8 yards per return, his longest for 8 yards. Taylor is filling in for an injured Dante Pettis (knee).
Raiders–49ers prediction and odds
The oddsmakers have the 49ers favored over the Raiders by 3 with an over/under of 47.0.
CBSSports.com has two final score predictions:
Pete Prisco goes with the under and has it 49ers 23, Raiders 17
John Breech takes the over and predicts it Raiders 34, 49ers 31