December 30, 2012; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Melvin Ingram (54) reacts after a stop during the third quarter against the Oakland Raiders at Qualcomm Stadium. The Chargers won 24-21. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Week 16 Gameday Preview: Chargers (7-7) vs. Raiders (4-10)

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 Chargers vs Raiders

Earlier this season, the Raiders absolutely destroyed the Chargers 27-17. The score  shows the Chargers only losing by 10, but the game was never really that close. That game came in the middle of when the Chargers made every single QB look like a Pro-Bowler. Terrelle Pryor carved the Chargers up to bring Oakland’s record to 2-3. Philip Rivers threw THREE interceptions in that game and Ryan Mathews only rushed the ball 3 times as the Chargers fell to 2-3. As a silver lining, Keenan Allen and Vincent Brown recorded over 100 yards receiving.

 

Since that game, the Raiders have gone 2-7 and are now starting Matt McGloin at quarterback. McGloin has played well for the Raiders, showing a better pocket presence and deep ball than Terrelle Pryor. McGloin also doesn’t make many plays with his feet, which is a blessing for the Chargers who have struggled against mobile quarterbacks. The secondary will just have to make sure not to get beat over the top.

 

The Chargers have gone 5-4 since week 5, with wins against the Chiefs, Broncos, and Colts. Keenan Allen has since won the Pepsi Next Rookie of the Week 3 times, while DJ Fluker has won it once. The Chargers don’t always play to that potential, losing to the Redskins, Dolphins, and Bengals. The Chargers are so up and down that it is still hard to expect anything from them. If they play with as much energy and urgency as the did against the Broncos, the Chargers have the skill and talent to demolish the Raiders.

 

In order to preserve a chance at making the playoffs, the Chargers need to win this game. The Miami Dolphins and Baltimore Ravens also both have to lose.

 

CHARGERS VS. RAIDERS IN HISTORY

The Chargers are 47-59-2 against the Oakland Raiders all time.

The Chargers are 0-1 against the Raiders this season.

During the Philip Rivers era (officially starting in 2006), the Chargers are 11-4 against the Raiders, and 5-2 at home.

 

CHARGERS INJURY REPORT

Eddie Royal and Le’ron McClain are questionable for today’s game. Royal has been a regular on the DNP/ Questionable list for a few weeks nows, but has suited up anyways. He will probably be available to play, but may not see much action.

PROBABLE

MLB, Bront Bird

C, Nick Hardwick

RB, Ryan Mathews

WR, Keenan Allen

OT, DJ Fluker

OLB, Jarrett Johnson

FS, Eric Weddle

CB, Shareece Wright

TE, Antonio Gates

QUESTIONABLE

WR, Eddie Royal

FB, Le’ron McClain

RAIDERS INJURY REPORT

LB Sio Moore is the Raiders’ version of a 3rd round steal. He is a stud rookie from Connecticut that has over 30 tackles and 3.5 sacks on the season.

Darren McFadden is also probable, but has been a bum-wheel for the Raiders offense this season. Even if he does play, he should not pose much of a threat.

Charles Woodson had a pick-6 against the Chargers in week 5 and could cause some more problems for the offense. He only has a rib injury, so Woodson will most likely play today.

PROBABLE

FS, Charles Woodson

RB, Darren McFadden

LB, Sio Moore

G, Lucas Nix

TE, Jeron Mastrud

QUESTIONABLE

DT, Vance Walker

LB, Miles Burris

OUT

RB, Jeremy Stewart

 

GAME CHANGER ON OFFENSE

Ryan Mathews. Last time the Chargers played the Raiders, Ryan Mathews barely played, the run game was nonexistent, and the entire offense suffered for it. Mathews has over 1,000 yards rushing for the second time in his career, with a career high in carries (236) and a career low in fumbles lost (1). Mathews is also only 79 yards off his career high in rushing yards.

With Mathews on the field, the Chargers can control the clock and make balanced, effective drives that tire out the defense. Mathews has over 100 yards in the last 2 games. He doesn’t need to do that again, but if he is close to as effective as he has been lately, it will be a long, long day for the Raiders defense.

 

GAME CHANGER ON DEFENSE

Melvin Ingram. Ingram returned against the Giants, but has not made much of an impact. The Chargers are tied for 23rd in the NFL in sacks, but the Raiders are 25th in the NFL in sacks allowed. Ingram has a chance to make his mark on the season today, and force rookie QB Matt McGloin to make plays outside of the pocket. If Ingram can get going today, the Chargers defense will be much more effective than in week 5.

 

NUMBER OF THE WEEK

0. The number of points the Chargers scored in the first half in the last game against Oakland. I don’t see that happening again because the offense is running so well right now. The Chargers must get out to a quick lead this time and put the final nail in the Raiders’ coffin early in the game.

 

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

Everybody knows it’s important to have a good balance on a football team running the football and throwing it. It’s great when you can run the football the way [Ryan Mathews] has in the last two games. He had 58 carries in the five-day span from the Giants game to the Bronco game. He’s done a great job of going downhill.

-Coach Mike McCoy

The coaching staff finally has trust in Mathews to let him control the tempo of the offense and get touches in the red zone. Mathews wasn’t available for the last game against the Raiders, but if he runs the way he has in the past few weeks, the Chargers should have no problem bursting through the 9th-best rushing defense in the NFL and driving downfield.

 

FINAL SCORE

The Chargers and Raiders are in different modes of the season. The Chargers are clinging to any mathematical possibility of making the playoffs, while the Raiders are already making vacation plans. Plus, I’m completely convinced now that Philip Rivers is the reason for the late bursts into the playoffs. I think the Chargers will come back to sunny San Diego with confidence and demolish the Raiders 35-17.

Bolt Up!

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