Both teams lost their last games, against the Green Bay Packers and the Denver Broncos, respectively. The teams are part of a three-way tie for the lead of the AFC West, so there is a lot at stake in this upcoming matchup.
Although tied for the lead, the San Diego Chargers have not played to the level we have come to except from this team this season. That is partly because of the turnover problem that has hit San Diego.
Philip Rivers has thrown 14 interceptions this season, which is the most in the league. In comparison, he threw only 13 picks last year, so he has thrown more interception in half a season this year than he did all of last season.
Fortunately, the Oakland Raiders’ pass defense hasn’t exactly been stellar so far in 2011. The defensive unit is the 20th-ranked pass defense in the nation and has only picked off opposing quarterbacks seven times this year.
The unit has also given up 14 touchdown passes so far, which is tied for third worst in the league, so this is a good game for Rivers to get back on track and improve his touchdown-turnover ratio.
Throwing the ball is not the only way to attack the Raiders. The Denver Broncos rushed for nearly 300 yards against them last Sunday, and the Chargers will look to take advantage of the porous rush defense.
Rolando McClain is the middle linebacker for the Oakland Raiders. He is a smart and physical presence, who has been injured for the last couple of weeks. McClain was active for the game against the Broncos, but did not play. However, it is expected that he will play this Thursday to try to anchor the middle of that defense.
Offensively, the Raiders will be without their biggest playmaker, Darren McFadden. The impressive running back will be replaced by Michael Bush, who put up an average of 5.1 yards per carry against the Broncos.
Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer is still rusty from being out of football and threw three picks last Sunday, so the Raiders will try to run the ball effectively to take pressure off their quarterback.
The Chargers has been average at stopping the run so far this year, and the defensive unit will need to step up in order to have a good performance against Oakland’s brutal running game.
Final Prediction: Oakland 24, San Diego 35
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