It involves starting Terrelle Pryor.
If the Raiders choose to go the Matt Leinart route, this showdown will just be like all the other season finales between two teams who have been eliminated from postseason contention.
Here’s everything you need to know about this Week 17 matchup.
Where: Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif.
When: Sunday, Dec. 30 at 4:25 p.m. ET
Listen: Sirius XM Radio: 86 or online at Audio Pass
Betting Line: No line, according to Bovada
What’s At Stake?
The Raiders and Chargers likely want to finish their game as fast as possible because it’s the only thing standing between them and vacation—chilling out and having a nice steak dinner.
Raiders Injury Report (via ESPN, as of Dec. 25)
Carson Palmer (ribs), QB, Out
Richard Seymour (hamstring), DT, Questionable
Chargers Injury Report (via ESPN, as of Dec. 25)
Brandon Taylor (knee), S, Out
Fantasy Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em and Sleeper
Start: Philip Rivers
Oakland allows opposing teams to score 27.9 points per game. That’s the third-worst mark in the league.
Yes, Rivers has played extremely shaky this season. But he isn’t shaky enough to not be able to take advantage of this matchup.
Sit: Darren McFadden
McFadden is having his worst season since 2009 when everyone was calling him a bust. He’s averaging just 3.3 yards per carry, and he’s set to face off against the fourth-ranked run defense. He isn’t a wise start against anyone nowadays, let alone the Chargers.
Sleeper: Matt Leinart/Terrelle Pryor
If your starting quarterback is, say, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco or Andy Dalton, you’re in trouble. Without any other option to replace your QB who’ll likely rest in a meaningless game, whoever starts between Leinart and Pryor could be a solid sign-and-start.
Leinart has the experience and Pryor has the athleticism to make up for his lack of passing prowess on the ground.
What They’re Saying
When it comes down to who the Raiders should start at QB in Week 17 between Matt Leinart and Terrelle Pryor, Bill Williamson of ESPN is in favor of the latter:
#Raiders I think Terrelle Pryor has to play Sunday. I don’t care if he’s not ready. The season is lost. Get him some work.— Bill Williamson (@espn_afcwest) December 24, 2012
In other news, Kevin Acee of U-T San Diego reported that Philip Rivers is going to miss his teammates, and because of that, he’s playing to win on Sunday:
As a team, we have six days together. This exact team. There will be lots of guys still here, lots of guys gone. I don’t like conceding the coach is gone; that’s not for me to do. But that’s going to be different. I just know you regret it if you don’t enjoy the heck out of it and finish it right. We’ll remember all the what-ifs, but as a group we’ll remember how we went out.
Raiders Player to Watch: Terrelle Pryor
Oakland better start Pryor.
The fact that Leinart gives the Raiders the best chance to win on Sunday is irrelevant. Winning on Sunday means absolutely nothing. In fact, winning would likely bump them down from the third overall pick.
Pryor is potentially the franchise’s future. He deserves a shot.
Chargers Player to Watch: Danario Alexander
If Alexander had played the whole season, he’d be a Pro Bowl candidate.
Over the past eight weeks, he caught 36 balls for 624 yards and six touchdowns. Against a pitiful Raiders secondary, he could find the end zone multiple times for the third game this season.
Key Matchup: Brandon Myers vs. Eric Weddle
Myers is the Raiders’ leading receiver and the tight end will surely be looked to quite often as a relief valve.
Weddle, San Diego’s leader in tackles and interceptions, is the Chargers’ best chance to shut him down completely.
On the Hot Seat: Norv Turner and Dennis Allen
Two of most commonly asked questions by the human race are: “What is the meaning of life?” and “How in the freaking world does Norv Turner still have a job?”
The Chargers head coach should have been fired last season, if not the year before.
And 2012 was Allen’s first year in the driver’s seat in Oakland, but the defensive specialist’s defense has been a joke.
First off, the fact that this is a meaningless game means nothing to Philip Rivers. He’s the type of intense competitor that would fight someone over a call in a backyard pickup game. Plus, Rivers against Pryor or Leinart is a huge edge for the Chargers.
San Diego by 10
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.
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