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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 theyll 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 couldnt get it done last season either.
If the Raiders win this matchup, theyll move to 2-6 and lessen their chance for the first overall pick next draft, so dont count on that actually happening. If the 49ers come out on top, theyll be 2-7 but will still be so deep in the NFC West basement that it wont really matter at all.
Whos favored to win this Week 9 Raiders-49ers matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which teams quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
Were going to compare the Raiders and the 49ers and attempt to answer those questions and more.
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 hes 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 its obvious the team is looking more towards building their future than at a successful 2018 season.
Once starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo ended his 2018 season after tearing his ACL in Week 3, things havent looked too optimistic for the 49ers offense. Backup quarterback C.J. Beathard is ranked 30th in passing yards per game with 208.7, and hes been sacked 18 times already in the five games hes 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 hes ran the ball 84 times for 487 yards and 2 touchdowns while catching 11 balls for 90 yards and a touchdown. San Franciscos running game is ranked sixth, averaging 133.6 yards per game, while Oaklands running defense is ranked dead last, allowing opponents to run for 144.7 yards per game. Should be a fun day for Breida.
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, whos 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 doesnt necessarily mean that theyre all that good. Theyve just intercepted two balls (T-29th) all season and have only sacked opponents quarterback 16 times (T-25th). They allow whoever theyre 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.
Oaklands 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 Franciscos punter, Bradley Pinion, is in his fourth year and has been a 49er his whole career. So far, hes punted 36 times for a net average of 36.9 yards per punt, ranked 29th in the league.
Oaklands 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 hasnt 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 hes 16-for-17, his longest was a 51-yarder. Hes missed one extra point attempt (13/14).
Oaklands punt returner, wide receiver Dwayne Harris, is ranked 42nd in the league in return average. Hes returned 9 punts for 120 yards and a touchdown, averaging 13.3 yards per return, his longest was for 49 yards.
San Franciscos punt returner, wide receiver Trent Taylor, is in his second year and is currently ranked 18th in the league in return average. Hes 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).
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
Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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