Editorials

NFL Week 5 Preview: San Diego Chargers vs. Oakland Raiders

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders look to end a two game losing streak this Sunday as they host an improved San Diego Chargers team in an unusually late game Sunday night. Thanks to the Oakland A’s playoff game on Sunday, this game will kick off at 8:35 PM PT.

The Raiders are coming off a very uninspiring loss to the Washington Redskins in which the offense was stagnant for the majority of the game. While some of that was obviously due to starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor missing the game due to a concussion, but when running back Darren McFadden went down as well, the Raiders simply had no offensive weapons left.

The Chargers are coming off a huge win over the Dallas Cowboys last week and could arguably be 4-0 right now if not for some fourth quarter collapses against the Houston Texans and Tennessee Titans. Philip Rivers is looking much better this season, and the addition of Danny Woodhead as well as a comeback season from Antonio Gates have made the Charger offense formidable once again.

It is looking more and more likely that McFadden will sit out this week meaning Rashad Jennings will get the start. While Jennings looked decent last week, his play a year ago in Jacksonville as Maurice Jones-Drew battled injuries all season left a lot to be desired which makes me question how effective he will be. If the offense will get going it’s going to be behind the arm and legs of Pryor. Expect a lot of Marcel Reece out of the backfield as well.

Against a Charger defense ranking 29th against the pass, this is a great chance for Pryor to shred the running QB label and throw all over the field to Denarius Moore, Rod Streater and company. Pryor must be aware of Eric Weddle at all times as he is arguably the best safety in the game right now and always finds his way around the ball.

Defensively, Danny Woodhead has to be kept in check coming out of the backfield. He burned the Cowboys linebackers repeatedly last week for two TDs and with the Chargers lack of receiving options it will be up to the defense to find a way to contain Woodhead and Gates. Rivers has completed nearly 74 percent of his passes for 11 TDs and only two interceptions so getting in his face and disrupting his rhythm is a must.

For the Raiders to win this game the defense will have to hold this Charger offense in check as they average 27 points per game while the Raiders have only scored 21 points once this season. Without their best offensive weapon however, expect the Raiders to struggle to generate consistent offense. They will keep it close, but ultimately come up just short to a Chargers team on the rise.