The Oakland Raiders travel down to San Diego to face the Chargers in a battle of two teams at different stages. The Raiders have lost four straight and, at this point, are now preparing for a crucial offense and a draft in which they will need to address a lot of holes on the roster. The Chargers are coming off a 27-20 upset of the Broncos in Denver and are hoping for a little help in their quest to sneak in the playoffs.
The Raiders are coming off of their worst performance of the year in giving up 56 points to the Chiefs and looked completely lost in trying to stop Jamaal Charles out of the backfield. That is not a good sign as the Chargers boast one of the league’s most dangerous backfield receivers in Danny Woodhead. He must be a target for a Raiders defense looking to redeem itself after their showing last Sunday.
The Raiders must also do a better job of slowing down Philip Rivers who threw for over 400 yards in the first meeting between these teams. The Raiders were able to survive and win thanks to five Charger turnovers, but that is unlikely to happen a second time. Both Keenan Allen and Vincent Brown had over 100 yards for the Chargers in the first meeting, and Antonio Gates is always dangerous so it will be imperative for the Raiders to find a way to slow down this passing attack.
On the other side, the Chargers defense has been susceptible to the pass this season. Matt McGloin must shake off his five turnover game against the Chiefs and come back strong against an average Chargers secondary. One of these receivers has to step up whether it be Rod Streater, Andre Holmes, or Denarius Moore, someone has to make plays to make life easier for McGloin and running back Rashad Jennings who has continued his great play this season.
The Raiders would also do well to try and incorporate Marcel Reece into the offense in some way this game. He proved what he can do when given a larger workload, but was reduced again last week with the return of Jennings. He is one of the best playmakers on this team and he needs to get his share of touches this week.
The key to this game is going to be the Raiders defense. The playmakers have to step up and create some turnovers to help the offense. Lamarr Houston has to get to the quarterback, Nick Roach has to patrol the middle of the field, and Brandian Ross and Charles Woodson have to be opportunistic in the secondary.
If they are able to create some turnovers and short fields for the offense, the Raiders can upset the Chargers again. If the defense continues their downward spiral, the Raiders don’t have enough firepower to keep up with one of the most explosive offenses in the league. The Raiders have nothing to lose at this point in the season, so they have to just go all out for the win.