Oakland Raiders Face Tough Battle Against Californian Rivals, The Chargers?
By JL Herrera
The Oakland Raiders are scheduled to face the San Diego Chargers for Week 5 of the NFL season on Sunday afternoon. The battle of the California AFC West will be hosted by the Raiders at the O.co Coliseum. This game will be their 107th meeting with the Raiders, having the upper hand with an all time record of 57-47-2.
The San Diego Chargers, however, have leverage on the Raiders since the Chargers won the last three meetings. Also, with the Raiders going through a major overhaul, the Chargers are expected to win, even though the game will be played in Oakland.
San Diego’s Record
The San Diego Chargers have a 500 record (2-2) and are struggling in certain areas for this NFL season. Their two victories were against the Philadelphia Eagles and the Dallas Cowboys, two NFC East teams.
Against the Eagles, the Charges won in a high scoring game with field goal in Philadelphia. Since then, Philadelphia has not amounted to much, but they are still a strong team. With Dallas, the Chargers hosted the Cowboys and beat them. The Cowboys have problems of their own, but the Chargers still took care of a game that was to be taken care of.
The Chargers did lose one at home against the Titans in Week 3. Tennessee kept the Chargers from scoring high and the Titans came out with a 20-7 vicotry. In the end, the Chargers have shown that they are a dangerous team, but consistency has yet to be established this season.
Chargers Offensive and Defensive Strategies
The offensive strategy for the Chargers is the passing game. Philip Rivers’s passing has improved this season compared to last year. So far this season, San Diego ranks in second place with passing completion percentage, at 73.9. Also, they also rank in 3rd for passing yard attempts and 4th for total yards—1165 yards. That will be their main bread and butter against the Raiders since they are ranked in 16th place for passing defense.
The defensive strategy that San Diego always uses is the 3-4 lineup with very aggressive linebackers. This stratagem is meant to keep QBs like Terrelle Pryor on check and not give much room to run. This strategy is suppose to stop the run rather well, but the Chargers have been having problems in this department. They are ranked 8th so far in the rushing defense as far as rushes attempted against them, but they rank in 25th as far as allowing yards (482 yards). This means that Pryor and Darren McFadden could have a chance to shine!
Chargers Strengths and Weaknesses
San Diego’s only strength is the passing game. Again, Philip Rivers has improved and has been able to throw on his adversaries, and the quarterback will now have to go up against what was suppose to be a good Raiders secondary. So far, the Raiders have been struggling a bit in that department, so Rivers will look to take advantage of that.
The Chargers’ weakness is the defense. Both the running and passing defense are not doing too well for San Diego. Their overall rank so far in the NFL is 30th. Their passing defense ranks 29th, and the running defense ranks 25th. All worse than the Oakland Raiders. If the Raiders take advantage of the weak defense and stop Rivers from making passing, the game should be victorious for Oakland.
Key Players to Watch
The key players for the Raiders to watch will obviously be Philip Rivers and wide receiver Eddie Royal. Rivers is playing better than last year and has proven that he is still dangerous with passing. Philip Rivers has 11 touchdowns with 1199 passing yards in four games. Not bad at all!
Eddie Royal has to be guarded because this wide receiver always finds the end zone. He leads the San Diego wide receivers with five touchdowns in 15 receptions and 190 yards.
Another threat is tight end Antonio Gates, who has 364 yards with only two TDs. Not bad either! This guy is definitely the aerial work horse for the Chargers.
Oakland Will Have to Fight Tooth and Nail
This is going to be a tough game for the Oakland Raiders. As far as it goes, all the games will be tough for the Silver and Black this season. However, with Pryor coming back to helm, the Raiders should have a better performance against the Chargers than what they had against the Washington Redskins with Matt Flynn leading.
For more Raiders news and updates, visit Raiders Central.
J.L. Herrera is a huge fan of football and has been following the Raiders since the 1980s during the LA era. J.L. is also a freelance writer and copywriter on the web. He taught English for a little more than a decade in Los Angeles at the secondary level. While writing for web based news outlets, J.L. enjoys reading, creative writing, and watching sports. His work can be found on Examiner.com.