Chargers vs Raiders NFL Free Pick & Prediction [12/14/2023]

LA Chargers (5-8) at Las Vegas (5-8)
When: Thursday, December 14th, 2023
Where: Allegiant Stadium,
Las Vegas, NV

Time: 8:15 ET | TV: Prime
Opening Odds: Los Angels -3.5/42

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The Los Angeles Chargers will go for a season sweep of the Las Vegas Raiders when they visit Sin City on Thursday Night Football. However, the Bolts will have to do it without star quarterback Justin Herbert, who is having season-ending surgery on his fractured right index finger. It’s doubtful that either team can make the playoffs, but the loser of Thursday’s matchup is all but done. Both teams are being run by backup quarterbacks and L.A.’s Easton Stick will make his first ever NFL start.

In Week 4, the Chargers earned a 24-17 home win and the game was anything but pretty. The Chargers had just 305 yards and were 5-for-14 on third down. The game was won with the turnover battle, as Los Angeles came out of that with a plus-two margin. Las Vegas totaled just 264 total yards and were 1-for-11 on third down.

Herbert was 13-for-24 for 167 yards with a TD and an interceptions and didn’t have top running back Austin Ekeler. Khalil Mach set a Chargers single-game record with six sacks. Rookie Aidan O’Connell made his starting debut in that one for the Raiders and was 24-for-39 for 238 yards with an interception. The teams have split the past 10 meetings straight up and against the spread.

Stick is in his fifth season with the Chargers, but surprisingly had just one career pass attempt prior to replacing Herbert in last Sunday’s 24-7 home loss to the Denver Broncos. Stick ended the day completing 13-of-24 passes for 179 yards, but it wasn’t enough to avoid L.A.’s fourth loss in five games. The Chargers went 0-for-12 on third downs last week and were a combined 1-for-18 on third and fourth downs. Los Angeles signed former TCU star Max Duggan to be Stick’s backup for Thursday. Star receiver Keenan Allen (heel) missed Tuesday’s walkthrough. He leads the NFL with 108 catches and also has 1,243 yards and seven touchdowns. Cornerback Deane Leonard (ankle/heel) also hasn’t practiced this week for Los Angeles.

Los Angeles Chargers Injury Report [Week 15]

Justin HollinsLBProb Thurs - Knee - 12/11/23
Kenneth Murray Jr.LBProb Thurs - Shoulder - 12/11/23
Joshua PalmerWRProb Thurs - Knee - 12/12/23
Keenan AllenWRQues Thurs - Heel - 12/11/23
Gerald EverettTEQues Thurs - Hip - 12/11/23
Donald Parham Jr.TEQues Thurs - Shoulder - 12/11/23
Zion JohnsonGQues Thurs - Ankle - 12/11/23
Sebastian Joseph-DayDLQues Thurs - Ankle - 12/11/23
Nick WilliamsDLQues Thurs - Shoulder - 12/11/23
Deane LeonardDBQues Thurs - Ankle - 12/11/23
Amen OgbongbemigaLBQues Thurs - Hamstring - 12/11/23
Otito OgbonniaDLQues Thurs - Knee - 12/11/23
Justin HerbertQBI-R - Finger - 12/12/23
Zack BaileyOTOut indefinitely - Back - 12/9/23
Joey BosaLBOut indefinitely - Foot - 11/22/23
Tanner MuseLBOut indefinitely - Knee - 12/7/23
Chris Rumph IILBOut indefinitely - Foot - 11/15/23
Raheem LayneSOut indefinitely - Knee - 10/18/23
Corey LinsleyCOut indefinitely - Illness - 9/30/23
Mike WilliamsWRI-R - Knee - 10/22/23

Last week’s home game against the Minnesota Vikings couldn’t have been any uglier offensively for both teams and their backup quarterbacks. The Vikings handed the Raiders their third-straight loss in a 3-0 shutout. It was the lowest-scoring NFL game in 16 years and the Raiders totaled just 202 yards and eight first downs. Las Vegas has averaged just 11.5 points over its last four games and are tied for 28th in scoring offense (15.5 points per game) and 29th in total offense (277.7). In O’Connell’s seven appearances (six starts), he’s passed for just four touchdowns while being intercepted seven times. Running back Josh Jacobs left with a knee injury and is questionable for Thursday.

Las Vegas Raiders Injury Report [Week 15]

Maxx CrosbyDEQues Thurs - Knee - 12/11/23
Andre JamesCQues Thurs - Ankle - 12/11/23
Curtis BoltonLBQues Thurs - Groin - 12/11/23
Adam ButlerDTQues Thurs - Ankle - 12/11/23
Amik RobertsonCBQues Thurs - Wrist - 12/11/23
Josh JacobsRBQues Thurs - Knee - 12/11/23
Kolton MillerTQues Thurs - Shoulder - 12/11/23
Brian HoyerQBQues Thurs - Knee - 12/11/23
Kana'i MaugaLBOut indefinitely - Knee - 12/12/23
Brandon FacysonCBQues Thurs - Shin - 12/11/23
Dalton WagnerTI-R - Undisclosed - 8/29/23
Brittain BrownRBI-R - Undisclosed - 8/27/23
Austin WalterRBI-R - Undisclosed - 8/3/23

This could be another ugly Raiders game to watch. The Chargers are now going to struggle to move the ball with a rookie, just like Las Vegas. I’m going to side with the Raiders, mainly because at least O’Connell has a few games under his belt. Stick might be overwhelmed in prime time in Las Vegas. The Chargers were really struggling with Herbert under center lately. I don’t see that changing much with Stick.

Week 15 Staff Selections

Pick: Raiders -3 (+100)