The San Diego Chargers travel to Oakland to face their divisional rival in Week 5. Here is my preview and predictions.
Recap: A complete meltdown. Point, blank, period. I am still in utter disbelief days later as I write this. To say this is expected from the Chargers is an understatement. I personally think this is a new low for the Chargers. Again, the Chargers blew a fourth-quarter lead. At the 8:39 minute mark of the game last Sunday versus the Saints, the Chargers had a 98.6 percent chance to win the game. The Chargers would lose a 34-21 lead (8:39 mark) and eventually lose the game. 35-34. Back-to-back fumbles by Melvin Gordon and Travis Benjamin would give Drew Brees the ball in great field position and he would capitalize on both. So much anger and disbelief at the conclusion of this game, I don’t want to recap any longer. Onto Week 5.
Oct 2, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers wide receiver Travis Benjamin (foreground) running back Melvin Gordon (background) react on the sideline after they both had fumbles late in the fourth quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
The matchup: San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders; O.co Coliseum, Oakland, Ca.; 1:25 p.m. (PST)
First major factor: Our pass rush versus the Raiders’ offensive line. Derek Carr has had all day to throw the ball. The Raiders’ offensive line could be one of, if not the best, O-Line in the NFL right now. No idea if Joey Bosa will actually play this week, but we will need everyone who is playing to pressure Carr. Given time to work, we see what Carr is capable of, and that’s leading the Raiders to a red-hot 3-1 start. The Chargers’ pass rush is key to getting a win on the road in a divisional game.
Second major factor: Protect Philip Rivers. The first week or so, we were executing this factor. We’re now going into Week 5 and this is now a huge concern. The Chargers’ O-Line is already pretty banged up, and many variations of lineups are being put together. I believe in Rivers. As long as he is on the field, we have a chance in any game. I don’t want to imagine what this team would be right now without Rivers, so it’s a must that we keep him healthy!
Oct 2, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) passes during the third quarter against the New Orleans Saints at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
My prediction: I can no longer give the Chargers the benefit of winning games that they should. Now it’s time to play a complete game and win. If NFL games were 58 minutes instead of 60, the Chargers could easily be 4-0. Unfortuantly, the team’s top corner in Jason Verrett is out for the year with a partially torn ACL. Without Verrett and Brandon Flowers, who is still not practicing due to a concussion suffered in Week 3, I don’t see the Chargers winning this game. I don’t think the Chargers’ pass rush will be enough to disrupt Carr, and he will put up big numbers versus the Chargers. I am trying to give the Chargers a win here, but they just haven’t shown they can close..at all. The Raiders are just red hot, full of confidence and playing at home. I think Rivers keeps it respectable, but the Raiders win this game.
FINAL SCORE: RAIDERS – 30, Chargers -21.