The Oakland Raiders travel to San Diego this Sunday in what could be an elimination game. The Raiders entered their bye week at 5-4, but have lost two in a row since.
The Raiders are 3-0 in their division and face an uphill battle as the Chargers are one of the hottest teams in the league.
While the last two weeks have disappointed many Raider fans, they must remember it's been seven years since Oakland has won five games.
With five games left in the season, the Raiders have a chance to record more wins than they have since Rich Gannon was their quarterback.
Will they get their sixth win of the season in San Diego? Let's take a look at five things that must happen for the Raiders to beat the Chargers in San Diego.
Darren McFadden was at one point one of the league's leading rushers. The last two games in a row, he has not been able to eclipse the 40-yard mark.
Teams are starting to realize that if they stop McFadden they'll stop the Raiders.
The Raiders must find ways to open up the run game and get McFadden going early.
If McFadden turns into the McFadden before the bye, then the Raiders will have a great chance to beat the Chargers.
The Dolphins offense was on the field twice as long as the Raiders offense was last week. If the Raiders want to beat the Chargers that can't happen again.
Phillip Rivers and the Chargers offense are one of the best in the league. The best way to stop that offense is to keep it off the field.
The Raiders must sustain drives and put points on the board. The longer they have the ball the better.
If the Raiders can dominate time of possession they stand a good chance of winning the game.
The Raiders need to mix it up on defense and attack Phillip Rivers. Whether they sack him or make him get rid of the ball before he is ready, they must have a game plan to bring the heat.
If they let him sit there in the pocket he will shred the Raiders defense.
The Raiders should look at what the Jets did to him in the playoffs last year as a blue print.
The Raiders do have the players on defense to apply pressure and they have a strong secondary.
If they can apply pressure to Rivers they can beat the Chargers.
Mike Tolbert is a big, bad man. He wasn't much of a factor against the Raiders in the first game, but he has since evolved and become a major part of the Chargers offense.
The Raiders must do what they can to stop him. If they can contain him and stop him from getting into the endzone, the Raiders can win.
Stopping the run has been a problem in recent years for the Raiders, but they have improved this season.
This will be one of the biggest keys to the game.
The Raiders cannot beat themselves and turn the ball over. They must create turnovers. When you are playing a team like the Chargers in their stadium, you must play perfect football.
If the Raiders can reduce turnovers and create more then Oakland has a strong chance to win this game.
Last game, the Raiders blocked punts and created fumbles. If the Raiders have more turnovers than the Chargers they will lose the game.
For the Raiders to win four out of these five things must happen on Sunday. If they do, they'll be 4-0 in the division and will still be alive in the AFC West title race.
This win will also give them the tie breaker in the event that the top two AFC West teams finish with the same record.
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