NFL Thursday Night Preview: San Diego vs. Oakland

hi-res-e193578f68e670b75ce5bd9ed943a182_crop_northDeck the halls, because the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders will meet up in a rivalry game on Christmas Eve.

Very often, it’s hard for NFL players to gather up enough energy for a Thursday night game when they’ve had little rest, but the Oakland Raiders will play their final home game against the San Diego Chargers right after a key player made an emotional retirement announcement.

Oakland should just call this match up the ‘Farewell Charles Woodson‘ Game. The Raiders safety just announced his intentions to retire to the world, in front of local media this past Monday. So if anyone is going to take the field all hyped up, it will be Woodson, who will play in his final home game, ever.

The Raiders’ also have some other issues hanging heavy in the air over their home field. They have an uncertain future with relocation hanging heavy in the air, and these angles should add some spark to Thursday’s matchup, making it a must-watch event for evert NFL fan.

The downside is that both teams are coming into this contest without playoff hopes, but they will be energized by their pride and the possible finality of one’s team future in that building. The Chargers have previously won their final home game in San Diego and will look to take one final victory lap against the Raiders in the Bay Area tomorrow night.

The Chargers will be hoping to even the season head-to-head series with a win, since they lost to the Raiders 37-29 in San Diego. For the Raiders, they will want to take the chance to showcase their young talent in a prime-time slot, when all NFL eyes will be focused on this football game.

And it’s all because this game will probably be featuring a lot of lasts. The last home game for future Hall of Famer Charles Woodson, who is one of the greatest ever defensive backs in the NFL.

The other last is the last time that the Chargers and Raiders face off representing their current cities. Add to that, it could also possibly be the last time that they do so as rivals. Since one team would potentially have to switch conferences if both teams end up in Los Angeles.

Even if neither team is going to see playoff action in 2015, the game between them has a lot of meaning to them and their fans. Neither of them wants to lose their potential final game against each other as rivals. And so, fans can expect that both sides will do whatever it takes to beat the other.

The first the teams met this year was in San Diego, when the Raiders came out on top with a massive win. Since then, the Chargers season has only trended downward, as instead of postseason competition, they will compete for a top draft pick. They will come into the game as the underdogs against an Oakland team that has shown a lot of growth and marks of potential, after a decade or more of ineptitude and failure.

So tomorrow night, the Chargers will have to dig deep and play with more spirit and passion, similar to how they played this past Sunday, as every player will it could also be their final game in San Diego. If they manage to bring that energy to the fiekd, they will have a good chance to beat the Raiders. But you can count on Charles Woodson playing his best game ever, and trying to make sure that when he goes out it will be on top, in his final home game wearing the Raider jersey.

Woodson should get an interception or maybe two if catches fire, that could lead to a big emotional home finale win against San Diego. The Chargers in the mean time will have to a long look in the mirror to figure out how to turn things around, and leave behind this losing season.

Our Pick: Raiders over Chargers, 27-14