It’s imperative the Oakland Raiders snap its three-game funk. Sitting at 2-3 overall and in third place in the AFC West, a return to the win column is of utmost importance.
Taking another “L” this Sunday — against division rival Los Angeles Chargers, no less — would sink the Raiders’ already-dwindling postseason aspirations even further. Head coach Jack Del Rio isn’t normally Captain Obvious, but he couldn’t have hammered the point in any other fashion.
“Obviously, we need a win,” Del Rio said. “For me, it’s about us preparing, coming out there and playing good football. That’s all we want to be about is play good football. Whatever it takes to get you motivated, for us, we recognize the need.
“We need it pretty bad. If there’s a desperation meter, we want it pretty bad.”
Every player and coach in the organization knows winning is a cure-all to the team’s perceived downward spiral. And the team is granted an opportune matchup with a Chargers team susceptible to a ground attack and a deep aerial onslaught.
Los Angeles is dead-last in stopping the run with a league-leading 806 yards allowed on 160 totes. Teams average 161.2 yards per game and 5 per carry and the Bolts have yielded 42 first downs on the ground. According to the Associated Press, the Chargers are ranked 31st in the league defending passes 21-plus yards in the air.
Establish the run, use some play action and hit the long bomb over the top with a returning Derek Carr.
Reasonable game plan, no?
Too bad it could be the same formula Los Angeles uses.
The Raiders are the worst team defending passes 21-plus yards in the air and are ranked 25th in stopping the run.
Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers is a play-action bomb specialist and with Oakland yielding 16 passes of 20 or more yards (four of the 40 or more variety) the veteran is going to gamble on deep heaves. And why not? The Raiders have yet to intercept a pass this season.
“I’ve seen him long enough. I’ve got a lot of respect for him. I think he does a heck of a job. Even when he’s had receivers hurt in the past, he’s just always remained very dangerous and really a capable guy. Now, obviously he has receivers all healthy and they’re doing a great job once again. He leads the way with the way he can read defenses, get them in a good play and throw the ball.”
Beat the Chargers and go back to .500 with plenty of football left. Lose to the Bolts and it’s 2-4, dropping to last place in the AFC West with a tough slate of games going forward. “Spine-tinglingly” frightening, to say the least.
All-Time Series: Raiders lead 63-50-2
Last Meeting: 12/18/16 Raiders 19, Chargers 16
Passing: Philip Rivers, 1,365 yards, 9 TDs, 5 INTs, 6 sacks
Rushing: Melvin Gordon, 273 yards, 2 TDs
Receiving: Keenan Allen, 401 yards, 1 TD
Tackles: Jatavis Brown, 46
Sacks: Melvin Ingram, 7.5
Interceptions: Tre Boston and Adrian Phillips, 1
Passing: Derek Carr, 753 yards, 7 TDs, 2 INTs, 8 sacks
Rushing: Marshawn Lynch, 194 yards, 2 TDs
Receiving: Michael Crabtree, 252, 4 TDs
Tackles: Karl Joseph 36
Sacks: Khalil Mack 4