It’s likely widely agreed upon that the Oakland Raiders are the favorites to win the AFC West division this year.
However, there are many analysts out there who feel the Los Angeles Chargers may be the next best team in the division. That will make the two games between these California teams highly important to the playoff race this season.
The Chargers and Raiders meet in Week 6 thisyear before clashing in the season finale in Week 17. That game at the end of the year could have plenty of importance riding on it.
The Raiders came out of nowhere last season behind first-year head coach Jack Del Rio to become perhaps the second-best team in the AFC behind the New England Patriots. As a result, you’ll find many predictions out there stating that the AFC Championship will be contested between those two teams this year.
But the Chargers could play spoiler. They played the Raiders tough in both games last year and with a full bill of health, could present plenty of problems for the Silver and Black.
Let’s take a little bit closer look at this matchup and see how the Chargers stack up against Oakland this year.
All-Time Series History
Oakland leads all-time series 63-50-2 and it has won the last four games in the series. Both of last year’s games were decided by three points, with mistakes dooming the Chargers.
The Chargers’ last win in the series came in November 2014 where the Chargers won a defensive battle 13-6 at Qualcomm Stadium.
Oakland Raiders 2017 Draft Class
Round 1: Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
Round 2: Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut
Round 3: Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, UCLA
Round 4: David Sharpe, OL, Florida
Round 5: Marquel Lee, LB, Wake Forest
Round 7: Shalom Luani, S, Washington State
Round 7: Jylan Ware, OT, Alabama State
Round 7: Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina
Round 7: Treyvon Hester, DT, Toledo
Not a bad draft class at all, and if it wasn’t obvious, the Raiders clearly felt the secondary needed an upgrade. The team took three defensive backs in their first six picks and even felt that Gareon Conley, a player facing a sexual assault claim that popped up just days before the draft.
The Raiders may need all of those DBs when they see the weapons that Philip Rivers is surrounded by.
Nate Allen, S (Signed with Miami)
Daren Bates, LB (Signed with Tennessee)
D.J. Hayden, CB (Signed with Detroit)
Andre Holmes, WR (Signed with Buffalo)
Matt McGloin, QB (Signed with Philadelphia)
Stacy McGee, DT (Signed with Washington)
Latavius Murray, RB (Signed with Minnesota)
Mychal Rivera, TE (Signed with Jacksonville)
Malcolm Smith, LB (Signed with San Francisco)
Brynden Trawick, S (Signed with Tennessee)
Menelik Watson, OT (Signed with Denver)
Nothing real noteworthy there aside from Latavius Murray, but the team replaced him with “Beast Mode”. In fact, as you’ll see in the key additions, the Raiders did a good job of replacing almost all of the players they lost.
Marshawn Lynch, RB
Marshall Newhouse, OL
Jelani Jenkins, LB
E.J. Manuel, QB
Replacing Murray with Marshawn Lynch and Mychal Rivera with Jared Cook is a huge upgrade in both cases. Those two moves give th Raiders the potential to have the most explosive offensive in football, led by quarterback Derek Carr.
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Week 6: Sunday October 15, 1:25 p.m. PST- Oakland Coliseum
Week 17: Sunday December 31, 1:25 p.m. PST- StubHub Center
Even the most faithful Chargers fans should be able to admit that this is going to be a difficult team to beat. In fact, aside from New England, this is probably the most difficult team on the schedule.
So what are your predicitions? If the Chargers can find a way to steal one of the two games from the Raiders this season, it would have to be considered a big accomplishment.
And here’s a bonus prediction. In that season finale, which takes place on New Year’s Eve, will there be more Chargers team colors in that crwod at StubHub or will it look like a home game for the Raiders?