The Oakland Raiders travel down to face the San Diego Chargers in the first Thursday Night Football contest of the 2011 NFL season. It is the first of two divisional matchups for the AFC West, which is looking to get some clarity at the top of the standings. The Kansas City Chiefs host the Denver Broncos, in a game that could leave us with two teams tied for first or three teams tied for second.
The Oakland Raiders 2011 season has gone from extremely promising to potentially disappointing in a matter of three weeks, but the Raiders are still in the thick of the playoff chase. If the Raiders can get their offense back on track, they have a chance at the division or a possible wild card berth. Week ten features a host of key battles as the AFC West and AFC wildcard picture continues to shake itself out:
Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers: While I would like to see the Raiders spring the road upset, I just don't see it happening. A short week for a Raiders team that is struggling from the top down is not a good thing. Michael Bush can provide a sound rushing game, but I just don't know if the Raiders can get enough from the passing game to get the victory. PICK: Chargers
Denver Broncos at Kansas City Chiefs: It is extremely tempting to go with the Fightin' Tim Tebows, particularly following the Chiefs' loss to the Dolphins. However, I think the Chiefs rebound and climb back into a tie for first place. They've got some more of the Tebow read-option tape and can game-plan accordingly. PICK: Chiefs
New England Patriots at New York Jets: The Patriots have a fairly easy second half schedule, but it doesn't start until week 11. The Patriots defense is abysmal and won't do much for them if they make the playoffs and we'll get to see why when Mark Sanchez has a monster performance and gets people to think he's better than he actually is. PICK: Jets
Buffalo Bills at Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys are a team with a bunch of question marks and the 5-3 Buffalo Bills are trying to prove they are for real. The Bills lost a tough one at home to the Jets and have people questioning where they really stand. I think the slide continues against the Cowboys. PICK: Cowboys
Tennessee Titans at Carolina Panthers: The Titans had a strong start to the season but they are sliding back to reality and it will continue against Cam Newton and the Panthers. I think Cam blows up against the Titans. PICK: Panthers
Pittsburgh Steelers at Cincinnati Bengals: The Bengals are sitting in first place in the AFC North, a half game ahead of the Pittsburgh Steelers and few people believe it will hold up. The Steelers are coming off a tough last second home loss to the Baltimore Ravens and it has me wondering how legit they are. The Steelers are favored by three on the road. I don't know if they cover, but I do think they squeak out a win. PICK: Steelers