Coming off their second devastating loss in a row Sunday against the Green Bay Packers, the San Diego Chargers (2-4) will focus their efforts against the Oakland Raiders (2-3) this week. Philip Rivers and Keenan Allen lit up the stat sheet in Lambeau but they failed to score a TD from the three yard line on four straight plays as time expired. The Chargers now enter their first division game and must come out with a W if they want to keep their post season dreams alive. Also, powder blue uniforms!
When: Sunday October 25, 1:05 pm PT
Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, C.A
Betting: Chargers (-4)
Oakland leads the all-time series lead 59-50-2 in their whopping 111 meetings. The Chargers, however, have had the upper hand in the last decade or so, winning the last 19 out of 23 games. They’ve also won three in a row against them in Qualcomm.
Felipe Rios is not of this world. He already has thrown for over 2,000 yards on the season and leads the league in that category. The second leader is Andy Dalton, with 355 less passing yards than Rivers (2,116 to 1,761). Rivers should once again roll against at home against a vulnerable defense, ranked 26th in terms yards per game allowed (382).
Rivers isn’t the only one putting up career numbers. His favorite target, Keenan Allen, has also been on a torrent pace. He had 128 yards on 11 catches in just the first half last week! He exited the game with a hip flexor injury but it appears it isn’t serious. He should be good to go Sunday and if I’m a betting man, I bet he’d have another great game (2 TD’s anyone).
Struggling to generate a pass rush earlier in the season, the Chargers have racked up 10 sacks in the last three games after just 1 through the first three. Jeremiah Attaochu is coming off of back-to-back games with 2 sacks and will look to get after Raiders’ QB Derek Carr.
Last week was the first game the Chargers’ D failed to force a turnover, but have a good chance with a Raiders team that has a 0 turnover difference.
Brandon Flowers was beat by James Jones on a TD late in the game last week and has lots of fans wanting him to head to the bench. He’s certainly struggled this season after signing the contract extension in the off-season but hopefully can turn the tables with a good game on Sunday.
The Raiders offense is anchored by youthfulness. Second year QB Derek Carr has thrown for over 1,000 yards and has 8 TD’s with just 3 INT’s. He’s got a new weapon on the outside with rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper, out of the University of Alabama. He’s an explosive receiver and has three TD’s on the season. They also signed veteran receiver Michael Crabtree, who traveled across the Bay Bridge from the 49er’s. I have a feeling Brandon Flowers will be matched up with Crabtree, so Flowers will need to step up and lock down a possession receiver like Crabby.
In the backfield, 3rd year player Latavius Murray totes the rock for the black and silver. At 6′ 3″ 230, he’s quite a handful to bring down, so the Chargers will need to wrap up and bring him down. I wouldn’t mind if Denzel Perryman got a lot more playing time in this game. If you saw the hit he laid on Eddie Lacy last week that forced the fumble, then you’ll know he can stop Murray in his tracks.
The sprite 39-year old Charles Woodson leads an upstart Raiders’ defense. Woodson is tied for the league lead with 4 INT’s and picked off Peyton Manning twice when they played two weeks ago. Khalil Mack, the second year player out of the University of Buffalo (once was the roommate of Chargers’ RB Brandon Oliver in college), will be tough to stop off the edge. But it will paramount that the Chargers keep him from getting to Rivers and disrupting the hot Bolts’ offense.
The Chargers should have no problem moving the ball against this Raiders defense but they don’t give up too many points per game, actually averaging just 21/g on the season. The Chargers will need to finish drives with TD’s and not settle for field goals.
What we’re watching:
Last week we were watching the play calling from Frank Reich and co. and they certainly had one of the better games of the season in that aspect. This week we’re going back to a match-up. Look for
Jason Verrett on Amari Cooper on the outside. Flowers has looked too slow to be on an explosive receiver like Cooper, so Verrett should get his number called.
Verrett’s brother Tre works for the Raiders’ front office and Verrett had the game-winning interception last season as a rookie in this match-up. I’m predicting Verrett has another great day against his home town team and picks off Carr twice, shutting down Cooper in the process.
Chargers get back on track with a W, 27-13 in the Powder Blues!