The Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego will be the place to host one of the oldest rivalries in NFL. San Diego Chargers (2-4) and Oakland Raiders (2-3) are the divisional rivals since the American Football League was established in 1960. This game is something different; it doesn’t matter if the teams are the playoff contenders or not, even if they’re worst in the league, this Californian Derby is special.
This game is a must-win for the Chargers. They’ve lost the last two games under difficult circumstances as luck didn’t favor them. The good thing about them is that Phillip Rivers is red hot, and he likes to play against Oakland, especially at home. San Diego won six out of last seven matchups against the Raiders, and even though the visitors have improved this season, the Bolts are still the favorites.
The Raiders are better than last several seasons; quarterback Derek Carr finally started to play like many expected from him. The defense is a stronger part of the team, unlike some previous campaigns. Charles Woodson is still going strong at 39-years-old, the former Super Bowl MVP linebacker Malcolm Smith is leading the team with 40 tackles and Khalil Mack is a threat for opposite QB’s with 3.0 sacks thus far. In his sophomore season, Derek Carr recorded eight touchdowns and three interceptions with 93.9 QB rating. Rookie Amari Cooper is his primary weapon in the air; the fourth overall pick caught 28 passes for 386 yards and 2 TD’s. Michael Crabtree and Marcel Reece are also Carr’s usual targets while Latavious Murray is ferocious on the ground.
The Bolts have a solid attack, with players like Rivers, Allen, Gates, and Woodhead, they can outscore any team in NFL. The problem is defense. San Diego’s D is the third worst in AFC and even though they have some big names in it, The Chargers are keeping failing to hold the offenses out of their red zone. Rivers is leading the NFL with 2,116 passing yards. He threw 12 touchdowns and five interceptions for a 102.8 QB rating. Keenan Allen leads the league with 53 catches for 601 yards. So, of course, the offense is not an issue.
Allen is listed questionable for the game with a hip injury, but himself noted that will be ready for Sunday. Antonio Gates, the future Hall of Fame tight end, is also under question with a knee issue, he said that never had problems with knees before in career. Wide receiver Steve Johnson and No 1.running back Melvin Gordon will start after limited in practice this week. The biggest problem for the Chargers defense will be injured Eric Weddle. The ninth-year pro safety is the spine of the team and team will feel his absence.
Oakland doesn’t have any major injury problems, and they’re fully for a clash.
The Bolts now have a last chance to get back on track with a win. The city and fans are already affected by the news from the club that they will move the franchise to Los Angeles. A potential defeat in the derby will be devastating for San Diego.