Preview: Raiders at 49ers
The Oakland Raiders and San Francisco 49ers each harbored lofty aspirations of franchise-changing seasons entering 2018, but the Bay Area rivals are mired in downward spirals in what has become a battle of attrition for both teams. When the Raiders visit the 49ers on Thursday night, the most noteworthy similarity is the number of wins by each club: one.
“This is going to fun for the fans and fun for both teams,” said Oakland coach Jon Gruden, who was lured back to the Raiders’ sideline with the hope of bringing back the team’s glory days. Instead, the Raiders traded away both their best player (Khalil Mack) and arguably their top offensive talent (Amari Cooper), and have been increasingly non-competitive during a three-game slide, losing by an average of 18 points. Injuries have victimized the 49ers, who lost their starting quarterback (Jimmy Garoppolo) and top running back (Jerick McKinnon) to season-ending torn ACLs and have dropped an NFL-worst six games in a row — with the last three on the road coming by a combined eight points. “We’re fighting,” San Francisco cornerback Richard Sherman said. “Unfortunately we’re not getting the results. These have been some of the toughest losses I’ve seen.”
TV: 8:20 p.m. ET, FOX, NFL Network. LINE: 49ers -3. O/U: 46
ABOUT THE RAIDERS (1-6): Despite rumors of more moves at Tuesday’s trade deadline, Oakland opted to stand pat, although cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie announced his retirement on Instagram. Derek Carr registered a season-high 136.6 passer rating in last week’s 42-28 loss to Indianapolis, throwing for three touchdown passes before the Raiders were torched for 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. Doug Martin rushed for 72 yards in place of an injured Marshawn Lynch and tight end Jared Cook continued his stellar season with four catches for 74 yards and a score. Mack’s loss has killed the pass rush, which has an NFL-low 7.0 sacks.
ABOUT THE 49ERS (1-7): Its losing streak aside, San Francisco has a major injury concern as quarterback C.J. Beathard was unable to practice Tuesday due to a sore right wrist. “We feel C.J. would be good if we were playing on Sunday but it’s going to be a test for Thursday and we probably won’t know until then,” said 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan, who would go with undrafted free agent Nick Mullens if Beathard can’t go. The one reliable offensive option for San Francisco is tight end George Kittle, who has a team-high 37 receptions and at least five in six of eight games. The 49ers are surrendering 262.5 yards passing and have posted only two interceptions.
1. The 49ers rank 28th and Raiders 31st in points allowed with 29.5 and 31.1, respectively.
2. Kittle and Cook are third and fourth, respectively, among tight ends in yardage with 584 and 474.
3. Carr has thrown for 901 yards in his last three road games.