Thursday Night Football anticipated a Week 9 matchup of resurgent offenses behind Oakland’s returning head coach, Jon Gruden, and San Francisco’s Jimmy Garoppolo.
Instead, they’ll settle for a draft position battle on the West Coast.
The Raiders and Niners are two of three NFL teams with only a single victory through Week 8, joining the 1-7 New York Giants in that woeful status.
There is something about having the top pick on draft night that energizes a club. Oakland seems to be actively trying to win that honor. They traded away the best player on the team, Khalil Mack, just before opening day.
Last week, they traded arguably their most exciting receiver, Amari Cooper, to the Dallas Cowboys and placed running back Marshawn Lynch on injured reserve.
Speculation that the Raiders could trade more players before Tuesday’s trade deadline did not materialize.
Gruden seems alternatively perplexed and adamant about the Raiders’ plans. To most, those plans don’t include success in 2018.
San Francisco’s season was derailed by season-ending injuries to its starting quarterback and lead running back. Coach Kyle Shanahan is the first to admit his teams’ problems go deeper than that.
The attitude in San Francisco is noticeably brighter, even in a tough season for the Niners’ faithful. Only one of these teams looks likely to resurrect itself quickly.
Injuries and notes
Veteran defensive back Dominick Rodgers-Cromartie announced his retirement.
Offensive tackle TJ Clemmings will join Lynch on injured reserve with a knee injury.
Guard Keleche Osemele ditched his knee brace and is expected to be available.
Cornerbacks Gareon Conley and Daryl Worley are both listed as questionable, as is return specialist Dwayne Harris.
San Francisco limited several players in response to the short week. Coach Kyle Shanahan said quarterback CJ Beathard has a legitimate issue with his wrist. Problems gripping the ball could put third-string passer, Tom Savage, into action.
Matt Breida (ankle) and Raheem Mostert (back) were limited, but both are expected to play.
Kyle Shanahan and his GM Mike Lynch continue with the second year of their rebuilding effort. There is little doubt there is a plan and that is better than what 49ers fans could bank on in recent years.
The jury is still out on Gruden as he makes moves only a coach with a ten-year guaranteed contract would make. How fast he turns the situation around in Oakland will either cap or crush his NFL legacy.
How to watch the 49ers-Raiders game
Fox Sports and the NFL Network will broadcast this Thursday Night Football matchup nationwide. That means millions of savvy NFL fans will follow the live stream NFL action on Sling TV.
Sling TV sends the original network feed directly to your favorite internet device in most US markets. Sling, along with other internet television providers like Fubo TV and DirecTV Now, carry all the NFL-contracted networks so you can enjoy live stream NFL football games all season long.
Best of all, it only costs a fraction of what cable and satellite companies charge and without contracts or expensive equipment. Check them out online and see why you should cut the cord and join the internet television revolution.
Who will win the Raiders-Niners game?
At first glance, this has the potential to be one of the ugliest football games you will ever watch. Injuries and rebuilding do not make for potent offensive (or defensive) rosters.
But crazy things happen on Thursday nights and these players have nothing to lose. Look for a game to break out and expect the only starting quarterback on the field to lead his team to victory.