Chargers vs Raiders has always been the week we wait for. For some reason, no matter how bad the Chargers are, they should always beat the Raiders, right? The 2-2 Chargers have a chance to build some serious momentum with a win this Sunday against the Oakland Raiders. But, after a quarter of the season is in the books, the 1-3 Raiders are not already hurdling towards a black hole as they have in recent years.
The team has shown some promise in a few facets of the game that the Chargers should not take lightly. I went behind enemy lines to ask my fellow FanSider, co-editor Chase Ruttig from Raiders site Just Blog Baby, to answer a few questions about what the Chargers should prepare for from a Raiders point-of-view.
1. What is the fan opinion of Oakland’s new management/ coaching staff so far?
As always in Raider Nation there is a percentage of the fan base that will always blame the coach (and now General Manager) for losses as the Black Hole desperately wants to see a winning season. But, overall there is a lot of optimism that the cap space Oakland has in 2014 will translate into similar success to what the Chiefs
are seeing this season in the AFC West.
Reggie McKenzie’s miss on bringing in Matt Flynn
has been a mark against him, but overall this rebuild has led to a competitive 2013 Raiders team that will give their all to Week 17, after that the sky is the limit if they can sign lucrative free agents and draft well. With that being said the fan opinion on Allen/ McKenzie will be much more concrete as we head into next season, for now it is kind of mixed.
2. Has Terrelle Pryor shown enough to convince fans that he can be the quarterback of the future?
I believe so, but with the Raiders having a ton of cap space you never know what you are going to see out of this spring’s free agency. Terrelle Pryor
has worked hard to improve his throwing mechanics and brings a ton to the table. In a season where mobile quarterbacks are struggling he has put together a decent body of work. If Pryor can continue that he will most likely remain as the quarterback going forward. He definitely has the support of the Raiders fanbase already thanks to the terrible play of Flynn.
3. What player is on the verge of having a big game this season?
He is a tight end, but Mychal Rivera
has shown a ton of promise as a rookie coming out of Tennessee this season. With David Ausberry
hitting the IR, Rivera has emerged as a solid tight end threat and caught a receiving touchdown last week. The more he develops this season the more likely that he will turn into a tight end who eats up a ton of receptions. I think he will have at least one breakout performance before the end of the season.
4. Who is one offensive player the Chargers must game-plan for?
Beyond the obvious weapon in Pryor, the Chargers will need to key in on #80 Rod Streater
who is Pryor’s main target on rollouts and breakdown plays. Streater has a knack for finding those spaces behind the linebackers and corners once everyone has their eyes on Pryor. San Diego will have to look out for that.
5. Who is one defensive player the Chargers must game-plan for?
#99 Lamarr Houston
. The defensive end has been the key to the revival of Oakland’s pass rush last season and despite having three losses Oakland’s defense has been outstanding especially last week. If San Diego can’t block Houston it will be a long afternoon for Rivers.
6. Obligatory Josh Freeman question: Do you think the Raiders will take a chance on Freeman?
I think they should because he would be a similar backup to Pryor and would be far more reliable than Matt McGloin
who is now the #2 quarterback ahead of Flynn, but I think Freeman is looking for a situation where he can start and that isn’t really an option in Oakland. At the very least McKenzie should kick the tires on Freeman because there isn’t another backup quarterback of his caliber on the market, but I wouldn’t expect to see him in Silver and Black.
7. What is your prediction for Chargers vs Raiders this Sunday?
This is really a touch game to call. One one hand the Raiders lost last week while San Diego continued to look outstanding against the Cowboys
, but if Terrelle Pryor was in the lineup Oakland would have beat the Redskins
without a doubt in my mind. Because of that I think Oakland can ride a loud Sunday night crowd on to a close win in another classic between the Chargers and Raiders. I am going with a 27-24 Oakland win
Personally, I think the Chargers will squeeze out a 27-24 win for themselves. Let me know what you think the final score will be in the comments or on twitter @kingofcahill