The Raiders have dropped their last two games and they are looking to bounce back this week against the division rival San Diego Chargers. The Raiders are win-less against the Chargers in their last 13 contests, and haven't defeated them since 2003.
The Raiders need to get this monkey off their back if they want to contend for the AFC West division, and this might be the year to do so. The Chargers are not the same team from 2009, as they have lost talent such as LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Cromartie.
The Raiders enter Week 5 with a 1-3 record and are trying to prove that they are not the laughing stock of the NFL anymore. The Raiders have played well this year but have not been able to close out football games. Timing of turnovers and poor rush defense have hurt the Raiders over the past couple of weeks.
In order for the Raiders to have a chance in this game, Richard Seymour and the defensive line have to step up and stop the run. If the Raiders can contain the run, this will allow pro bowl corner back Nnamdi Asomugha and the 3rd ranked pass defense to force Phillip Rivers to make tough throws.
With Darren McFadden likely to miss Sunday's game, the Raider offense needs to step up as well. Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski has to eliminate turnovers and running back Michael Bush needs to fill in for McFadden and be effective. The Raiders have relied on the run this season, so Bush should be prepared to see plenty of carries. If the 245 pound bruising running back can ware down the San Diego defense, this will open up the play action and allow Gradkowski to hit his young receivers down the field.
There is a sense of urgency in Oakland, and if the Raiders can come out on top, they can carry their momentum into Week 6 at San Francisco.