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Raiders vs Chargers preview, live chat with Chargers blogger

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Donald Miralle

The Raiders face the division rival Chargers this week. It will be the Raiders first game with new interim head coach, Tony Sparano at the helm. The Chargers have second-year head coach Mike McCoy in charge and he has the Chargers playing very well at the moment.

As far as rivals go, the bitterness from the Raiders side of things is far more directed at the Broncos and Chiefs than the Chargers but there is still plenty to go around.

The reason for the lack severe bitterness on the Raiders side is historically, the Raiders have gotten the better of the match-up. That's hasn't been the case of late and in fact, the Chargers are superior team right now in nearly every aspect.

Philip Rivers is having a career year thus far and is at the top of the MVP conversation. The Chargers got hot the latter part of last season, going on a playoff run, and have not cooled down.

Both sides of the ball are on a tear for the Chargers. Even with the depleted running backs, the offense hasn't skipped a beat.

While Philip Rivers is a Pro Bowl quarterback having an All Pro year in his prime, the Raiders deploy rookie quarterback, Derek Carr who is still trying to find his footing on the NFL level. The Raiders running game is actually worse than the Chargers' and they don't have near the injuries to use as an excuse. It's more about having Darren McFadden averaging his usual 3.3 yards per carry and Maurice Jones-Drew yet to look like he has anything left in the tank.

Both teams have offensive line issues. The Chargers primary concern is being on their fourth center already this season. The Raiders issues are the right side of the line with Austin Howard struggling in run blocking at right guard, and Menelik Watson at right tackle looking completely out of his element in limited snaps this season.

On defense the Chargers hit big time with the off-season acquisitions of Brandon Flowers and Dwight Freeney. They appear to be the missing pieces to this defensive unit which is now looking pretty good.

Just as on the offense, the Raiders are on the other end of that spectrum. They made a lot of defensive acquisitions this off-season and yet the only one that has looked like he can make a difference is rookie fifth overall pick, Khalil Mack. The rebuilt defensive line has been ineffective and the starting corners have no interceptions and just one pass defended between them.

The Chargers are 7-point favorites in this one. It may seem like it should be more than that but three of their four wins have come against the worst teams in the NFL (Jets, Jaguars, Bills). Then again, their one win was against the reigning Super Bowl Champion Seattle Seahawks.

Here is the ongoing conversation I am having right now with blogger from SB Nation's Chargers site Bolts From the Blue.

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