The Battle of the Bay Area in prime time is more like a skirmish for a high pick in next April’s draft, perhaps even the first overall selection.
Yep, that’s how bad the Raiders and 49ers have been so far. When they meet in Santa Clara, California, on Thursday night, how much of the nation will show interest is problematic. How much the folks by the bay and its environs would care is debatable.
The 49ers (1-7) are ranked 31st in the AP Pro32, ahead of only the Raiders (1-6). San Francisco is a 3-point favorite over its neighbor.
“We’re looking for more consistency. We’re looking for somebody to step up, not only on game day but during the week,” says Raiders coach Jon Gruden, whose return to his dream job has turned very sour.
“We’re still working through who are the best corners, who is the best combination for us in every situation. Hopefully we can settle on it soon.”
The Niners would settle for any sort of victory. My goodness, they’ve been swept by Arizona, which hasn’t beaten anyone else.
At least they have been close in many of their defeats.
“It’s something we’ve got to do to get better and get over that hump,” coach Kyle Shanahan says. “It comes down to, you can do a lot of things throughout a game, but when it comes down to the end when we need to close people out and we need some closers to do that. We’ve had some opportunities to do it.”
Opportunity knocks this week for …
KNOCKOUT POOL: KANSAS CITY made it a little closer than we expected, but survived. Next up: how about CHICAGO?
No. 5 Los Angeles Chargers (plus 1 1-2) at No. 11 Seattle
Seahawks getting physical, remain resourceful, should handle this one at home.
BEST BET: SEAHAWKS, 27-20
No. 7 Pittsburgh (plus 3) at No. 16 Baltimore
Steelers hitting their stride in time for NFL’s best rivalry renewal.
UPSET SPECIAL: STEELERS, 23-20
No. 1 Los Angeles Rams (plus 2) at No. 4 New Orleans
Saints will put the Big Hurt on unbeaten Rams in the Big Easy.
No. 17 Atlanta (plus 2) at No. 8 Washington
Strange line; Redskins should be bigger favorite. What does Las Vegas know?
No. 10 Houston (plus 2 1-2) at No. 23 Denver
Another strange line; Texans are far better, but altitude a factor here.
No. 25 Tampa Bay (plus 7) at No. 6 Carolina
Panthers coming off two impressive victories.
No. 15 Chicago (minus 8 1-2) at No. 28 Buffalo
Wonder if Bills will be favored again this season.
No. 2 Kansas City (minus 8 1-2) at No. 27 Cleveland
KC’s not exactly the team for any new coach to make debut against.
No. 12 Green Bay (plus 6) at No. 3 New England
Packers aren’t scared of anyone. Neither are Patriots.
No. 19 Detroit (plus 4) at No. 9 Minnesota
First of three straight division tests for Vikings. They’ll barely pass this one.
No. 21 Tennessee (plus 6 1-2) at No. 18 Dallas, Monday night
Man, has Tennessee been a disappointment.
No. 26 New York Jets (plus 3) at No. 20 Miami
As usual, New England’s patsies are sinking in AFC East.
Last Week: Against spread (8-6). Straight up (12-2)
Season Totals: Against spread (56-58-4). Straight up: (81-38-2)
Best Bet: 3-5 against spread, 7-1 straight up
Upset special: 5-3 against spread, 4-3-1 straight up
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