I thought I'd do a breakdown of the two teams, according to the Rankings at Football Outsiders. Their ranking system is unique in that they take all kinds of addt'l stuff into account like the situations (down/distance, 1st quarter, 2nd half w/game in question), strength of opposition, etc, and give extra weight to how each team is playing recently.
I think it's worth noting that the Raiders numbers are likely deflated at the moment, due to our having gone 1-3 in our last 4 (in no small part due to the absence of Ford for 4 games, who hopefully will be back for this one, and Moore for 2 + 1 where he wasn't 100%) whereas SD's numbers are inflated due to their 3-1 record in their last 4. I would argue that during the last 4 games the Chargers were playing much better than they're likely to play in this game, given the fact that they were competing for a PO spot at that time.
But enough caveats ... Looking here at FO's 'weighted' numbers, the situation changes quite a bit vs. when you look strictly at rankings according to total yardages.
Perhaps most importantly, FO has our Defense is being quite a bit better vs. when you go strictly by the 'yardage totals' (29th becomes 21st), and the opposite is true for SD. So much so that FO's system shows our Defense is actually ranked BETTER than SD's Defense, despite them giving up way less yards overall.
Using PantyRaider's now-famous format of presenting the data, here's what we're looking at ...
Raiders (8-7) vs SD (7-8)
Oakland's Offensive Variance: 14.4% (#32, meaning we are the WORST offense in terms of consistency in the entire league ... doesn't mean we ARE the worst, just that we vary from extremely good to extremely bad ... a low ranking here means you never know what you'll get from our offense ... which I think we've all observed at this point).
SD's Defensive Variance: 7.3% (#26, meaning SD also has a very inconsistent defense).
Overall: When the Raiders have the ball, the numbers clearly show that we should be able to move it on SD, especially on the ground. All of our Offensive Rankings are better than all of their Defensive rankings. But the high variability #'s for both squads illustrates a distinct potential for either extreme to occur ... we might roll up yards like the 2000 Rams, or get shut down like the 1976 Bucs.
Here's the Raiders Defensive rankings against specific reciever types:
WRO = Other than #1 & #2 WR
These are actually pretty decent numbers overall ... we should in theory be able to shut down Gates, and at least one of the WR's, and we're not bad against RB's in the passing game. Thinking back, it was really only Foster who badly torched us catching the ball.
Raiders (8-7) vs SD (7-8)
SD's Offensive Variance: 8.6% (#25, SD's offense is also highly inconsistent, but not quite as terribly so as our offense).
Raider's Defensive Variance: 6.0% (#21, so the Raider's Defense is the most 'consistent' in terms of performance out of all four squads ... unfortunately, they're still not that consistent, and they're also #21 overall, so they're 'fairly consistently ... not that great in general').
Overall: When SD has the ball, it's a very similar situation to when the Raiders have the ball. Except even more so ... the most extreme ranking differential is seen here, where SD's #12 overall ranked Rushing attack faces our #31 ranked Rush Defense. If SD is smart, they'll run it at us a lot. Fortunately for us, their two main RB's are hurt.
Chargers Defensive rankings against specific reciever types:
WRO = Other than #1 & #2 WR
Hue's plan should be fairly obvious here ... get the ball to the WR's and get the Boss involved, because they SUCK at defending against tight ends, and aren't great against WR's either.
Weighted Special Teams Rankings:
A Random Appendix, for folks who are pondering how the post-season will actually go.
The overall 'Variance' (aka Consistency) numbers show some interesting results ... note that 'Variance' is not directly used in the Rankings calculations, but 'consistency' does indirectly affect the Rankings for various reasons.
The Top 5 Teams in terms of 'Most Consistent' Offenses are:
1) Atlanta (12th overall)
2) Rams (32nd overall)
3) Green Bay (2nd overall)
4) Jacksonville (31st overall)
5) Cincinnati (15th overall)
The Bottom 5 'Least Consistent' Offenses:
28) Baltimore (11th overall)
29) Seattle (14th overall)
30) NY Jets (17th overall)
31) Buffalo (25th overall)
32) Oakland (20th overall)
The Top 5 'Most Consistent' Defenses:
1) Denver (16th overall)
2) Cincinnati (19th overall)
3) Atlanta (2nd overall)
4) New Orleans (29th overall)
5) Green Bay (25th overall)
The Bottom 5 'Least Consistent' Defenses are:
28) NY Jets (9th overall)
29) Baltimore (3rd overall)
30) Jacksonville (11th overall)
31) Philly (6th overall)
32) Kansas City (13th overall)
There's a few interesting observations to be made here, for those pondering this season's overall post-season picture ... when you're in the playoffs, and every game is 'win or go home', there's a lot to be said for being both 'good', and 'consistent'.
Oddly enough (considering the odds) there's three teams that appear on both offensive and defensive 'top 5' lists for consistency. The Falcons, the Packers, and the Bengals. The Bengals ... are consistent but somewhat mediocre (#19 ranked defense, #15 offense), the Packers are consistently great on Offense (#2), but have a very inconsistent defense whose not good overall (#25). This could spell trouble in my esteem in the Playoffs.
The Falcons, however, have a very consistently good offense (#12), as well as a very consistently good defense (#2).
When you look at the INconsistent teams, one team stands out as appearing on both the offense and defense lists: The Ravens. Although they're ranked fairly well on both sides of the ball, both are wildly inconsistent squads. Basically, you don't know what Ravens team is gonna show up on either side of the ball.
Looking at these numbers, I feel pretty confident in saying that this year, I expect the Falcons to challenge for the NFC title (if not the SB itself) and I expect the Ravens will NOT make it through the gauntlet to the Super Bowl.
Also of note is that the game we care about the MOST this weekend (aside from ours) features both the League's most consistent Defense (Denver) against the most inconsistent Defense (KC). Should be interesting ...
GO RAIDERS, and GO CHIEFS!!!