Week 9 Thursday Night Football RedZone Prediction
The NFL flexes Sunday night games if what appeared to be a great match up before the season started is no longer worthy of a prime time billing. The dumpster fire we have tonight on national television is exactly the type of game the league wants to avoid in the spotlight. Before the season began, the Jimmy G led 49ers were a dark-horse to make a run after they finished the 2017 season basically on fire (albeit against some very poor competition). Equally exciting, Jon Gruden signed a 10-year deal to return the Raiders to prominence. The Battle of the Bay was going to be a big-time Week 9 game... Now, here we are with the 1-7 49ers, piloted by CJ Beathard (maybe??!), hosting the 1-6 Raiders who have shipped away their best two players for future draft picks.
This game could not be more firmly in the RedZone for us. Of the 13 games (6 teams on bye) this week, this has the least amount of system value. The spread favors the home squad, 49ers, by 2.5 points in the Las Vegas Super Contest. That is right on top of our proprietary models' outputs, therefore, no value. These teams are extremely evenly matched because they, quite frankly, are equally shitty. The 49ers are bottom-10 in all three facets of the game, while the Raiders have a decent offense, but are atrocious on defense and special teams.
There isn't enough relative strength for either side for us to want to even have a strong lean on this one, but we realize a lot of folks have pick 'em pools or just want to throw twenty bucks at a bullshit game to be able to ignore their significant other or not think about their asshole boss at work they are going to have to see tomorrow morning.
If that is the case, we suggest taking the Raiders. We have 3 reasons for this "gun to our head" lean:
1. The 49ers are really banged up. Yes, the Raiders traded away all of their best players...but at least they have been preparing without those guys all week in practice. The 49ers aren't even sure if Beathard (who is already trash) is going to be able to play. Do you want Nick Mullens (who the fuck is Nick Mullens?) or Tom Savage to have to win you a close game in the 4th?? Didn't think so. Even if Derek Carr does have tiny hands and cries on the bus after every loss, we can at least agree he is better than the 3-headed turd monster that could be taking snaps for the 49ers tonight. Full 49ers injury report...yikes: Out — LB Reuben Foster (hamstring), S Jaquiski Tartt (shoulder), S Antone Exum (concussion). Questionable — QB C.J. Beathard (right wrist), RB Matt Breida (ankle), WR Pierre Garcon (shoulder, knee), RB Raheem Mostert (ankle), C Weston Richburg (knee), CB Richard Sherman (calf, heel).
2. Points. A good rule of thumb when handicapping a match-up between two teams who are horrible is just take the dog. At least you are starting out covering and if these two grind out a tie, you're golden.
3. Jon Gruden. First of all, it's just more fun to root for Jon Gruden being a psychopath on the sideline than it is dweeby Kyle Shanahan. But more importantly, Shanahan credits his time under Gruden in Tampa as the foundation and accelerant for his entire coaching career. That is pretty powerful considering his own father was a long-time NFL head man. ESPN had an interesting piece today outlining the Gruden staff that included younger versions of Shanahan, Mike Tomlin, Jay Gruden, and Sean McVay among others. We are old school. In a battle of teacher vs. pupil, our gut goes with the teacher.
We'll be back on Saturday with the REAL VALUE when we get some games on Sunday/Monday that aren't quite so bad. We are on fire across the board, so now is a great time to join mid-season with our marked down football packages.