Derek Carr Amari Cooper Raiders
Derek Carr #4 of the Oakland Raiders celebrates with Amari Cooper #89 after a scoring on a two-point conversion against the San Diego Chargers during their NFL game at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on October 9, 2016 in Oakland, California. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

The “Monday Night Football” matchup between the Los Angeles Rams and Oakland Raiders is considered to be one of the biggest mismatches in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season. With Jon Gruden now at the helm and Khalil Mack off the roster, expectations for a team that was thought to be a Super Bowl contender just a season ago have dramatically dropped.

Playing at home in their season opener, the Raiders are 4.5-point underdogs, according to the latest betting odds at OddsShark. The point spread opened as a pick’em, but the line has shifted along with the perceived freefall of the silver and black. The game’s over/under is 49.5

Expectations for the Raiders couldn’t be any more different than what they are for the Rams. A season after winning the NFC West, Los Angeles has the best Super Bowl LIII odds of any team in the NFC. Even the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles aren’t given a better chance to be crowned the NFL champions in 2019.

Los Angeles might have as much talent as anyone. Defensive tackle Aaron Donald is the reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Ndamukong Suh and Marcus Peters, who were both Pro Bowlers in 2016, are now part of the defense. Running back Todd Gurley won the 2017 Offensive Player of the Year award and wide receiver Brandin Cooks came over from the New England Patriots after three straight 1,000-plus yard seasons. They’ll receive plenty of targets from Jared Goff, who made the Pro Bowl in his first full year as a starting quarterback.

The absence of Mack—​he was the Defensive Player of the Year before Donald—will make it even more difficult for Oakland to slow down L.A. No team scored more points than the Rams in 2017. The Raiders were 23rd in total defense.

Oakland does have their share of talent of offense, which is why they were a popular Super Bowl pick entering last season. Derek Carr’s numbers were down as he battled a back injury and Amari Cooper didn’t even reach 700 receiving yards. Both players made the Pro Bowl in 2015 and 2016.

Wide receiver Jordy Nelson and running back Marshawn Lynch have track records of success. Perhaps they can get off to a hot start in Week 1.

A lot could be dependent on the offensive line. The unit was essential to the team’s 12-win season two years ago, but it vastly underachieved in 2017.

Don’t be shocked if the offensive line performs well against the Rams in the season opener. Donald is certainly the best pass rusher of all the NFL’s interior linemen, but Los Angeles has question marks on the edge. If Carr has time to throw, he has a chance to look like the quarterback that posted a 96.7 passer rating when he was so well protected two years ago.

Winning in Oakland isn’t easy for road teams. Even when the Raiders won just six total games last year, the team was never defeated by more than a field goal when Carr started at home.

As good as the Rams have the potential to be, the hype surrounding the team might be a little too high to start the season. Los Angeles did lose at home in their first playoff game last year. The Rams finished last season losing four out of five games against the spread, according to OddsShark.

The Raiders and Rams will probably be separated by several games in the NFL’s overall standings at the end of the season, but Monday’s game could be close until the very end.

Prediction: Los Angeles over Oakland, 28-27