By Hamish Girvan
Los Angeles Chargers at Oakland Raiders – Monday 10.05am NZ Time
The Los Angeles Chargers and AFC West divisional rivals the Oakland Raiders are at opposite ends of the divisional scale. The Chargers are on a five game winning streak and could be making a playoff run. The Raiders meanwhile look as though they are purposely tanking their season so new head coach Jon Gruden can have his own players. Trading their best player in defensive end Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears at the start of the season said it all and subsequently Wide Receiver Amari Copper has also gone. This is a high risk strategy however it’s all about how the Raiders will look when they start playing in Las Vegas in 2020. The Los Angeles Chargers biggest weakness is off the field with more or less no home ground advantage since they moved to Los Angeles from San Diego two seasons ago. Led by veteran Quarterback Philip Rivers they have assembled a reasonable team, and with the easiest schedule in the AFC they should make the playoffs it if current form is anything to go by. They do have a habit of choking and just about did last week against Seattle. The Chargers are hot favourites and should keep the Raiders on track to achieve their rebuild.
Pick – Chargers -9.5
Dallas Cowboys at Philadelphia Eagles – Monday 2.20pm NZ Time
The Dallas Cowboys travel to divisional rivals and the current Superbowl champions the Philadelphia Eagles. The Cowboys are turning into one of the NFL’s more dysfunctional franchises. Losing embarrassingly last week at home to the Tennessee Titans head coach Jason Garrett is definitely in the firing line however he’s not helped by megalomaniac owner and General Manager combined in Jerry Jones. Garrett is more or less a puppet in this family owned franchise and the results certainly show. Playoffs unless they win look to be out of the question again and its look as though only major structural changes will fix this once successful team.
The Eagles are going through struggles of their own with a 4-4 record however the NFC East division is possibly one of the weakest in the NFL at the moment. Hampered by injuries they are plodding along however all is still to play for division wise. Quarterback Carson Wentz is not the player he was last season however he is still coming back from last season’s injury. The Eagles defence is OK and should be able to manage to stem whatever offense the Cowboys throw at them . A must win for the Cowboys to keep their season alive this may be closer then the odds suggest however victory may be a bridge too far.
Pick – Dallas +7.5
As a side note former Dallas Cowboys Wide Receiver Dez Bryant was finally picked up by the New Orleans Saints as a free agent earlier this week however on Friday at practice before his first game in the weekend he tore his Achilles. Not something any fan wishes to see happen to any player.
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