For the second time this season, the Raiders face the Chargers. So, I reconnected with John Gennaro from SB Nation Chargers site, Bolts From the Blue to get the skinny on what's the Chargers have been up to since the Raiders last saw them back in week six.
1. First off, what happened in Miami?
Simply put, the Chargers were too injured to match up against a decent NFL team. At just about every position group, they were missing at least one important starter. The Dolphins took advantage, got an early lead, and Philip Rivers panicked and made it worse by trying to win the game by himself.
2. Since then the Chargers seem to have fallen fast, with a three-game losing streak culminating in the aformentioned blowout loss to the Dolphins. How does this team go from being considered one of the best teams in the league to looking like the worst?
Again, the name of the game is injuries. The defense has gotten worse every game following injuries to Melvin Ingram, Manti Te'o, Jerry Attaochu, Brandon Flowers, Jason Verrett, and others. The offense was able to tread water for a few weeks with Branden Oliver and an under-performing offensive line, but it came crashing down quickly.
Luckily for the Chargers, most of the guys that have been lost to injury since the Chargers' blistering start to the season have been practicing this week and should be ready for Sunday.
3. When the Raiders faced the Chargers before, it was the Raiders coming off the bye week. Now it's the Chargers who got two weeks to prepare for the big bad Raiders. What benefit do you expect the Chargers to get out of that?
They'll have a little bit better idea of what to expect facing Tony Sparano for the second time as head coach of the Raiders, I imagine. They'll also, hopefully, be able to come up with some creative ways to get pressure on Derek Carr, which was a problem in the last game.
4. With the Los Angeles stadium situation up in the air and the Chargers to move there, what is the latest from the Chargers side of the battle for LA?
Surprisingly, there doesn't really seem to be any movement on the San Diego side of things. The team and the city seem to both want the team to stay, but neither wants to foot the bill for a new stadium, and so they seem to be waiting for a solution to fall out of the sky for them. I suspect that's a big reason why the NFL has taken some initiative and gotten involved in the building of an L.A. stadium, because thy know they can net a good team for the market if they can provide a solution in a timely fashion.
5. Week six against the Chargers was the most competitive the Raiders have been all season. Have the Chargers done anything since then to suggest they'll be able to stop the Raiders? Do you expect another shootout? Or do you think both these teams have changed so much since then, none of that matters?
Well, since then, the Chargers have gotten worse and the Raiders have gotten better (at least, in my opinion). The Chargers certainly don't want a shootout, and would much prefer to win the time of possession with a strong performance on the ground, but their defense may not give them many choices unless defensive coordinator John Pagano gets a bit more aggressive.
I will post a link to my answers to his questions when BFTB publishes them.
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