The 0-9 Raiders are in San Diego for their week 11 match-up with the 5-4 Chargers. It's a division rival game in the place where the allegiance is split between the Raiders and Chargers, making the stadium equal parts black and blue on game day. It's also the most full you will ever see Qualcomm stadium for a game.
Here are the things to keep an eye on in this game
It was a month ago these teams last faced each other in an offensive shootout in Oakland. The Chargers outlasted the Raiders that day and held on for the win. And neither of them has a win since then. To be fair, the Chargers did face the Chiefs and Broncos in two of those three games. But then they were stomped by the Dolphins 37-0 in Miami. The Raiders have faced the Cardinals, Browns, Seahawks, and Broncos and were beaten handly in each of those games.
Both of these teams are desperate for a win to end their tailspin. The Raiders tailspin is just a tad longer however, they have lost 15-straight dating back to last season.
Two of the last three games the Raiders and Chargers have played against each other have been clinched by an interception. Earlier this season it was Chargers cornerback Jason Verrett who intercepted Derek Carr on a long ball attempt on their final drive attempt to ice it. Last season it was D.J. Hayden and then Charles Woodson who both intercepted Philip Rivers on consecutive late drive attempts to put the game away. The difference here is the Raiders will have both of their game-clinchers starting this game while the Chargers will be without Jason Verrett due to a shoulder injury.
See you in health
Besides Jason Verrett being out, the Chargers have gotten considerably healthy over the bye week. Most notably they will see the return of running back Ryan Mathews, safety Jahleel Addae, and center Jeff Ohrnberger, and linebackers Melvin Ingram, Manti Te'o and Jerry Attaochu. Some of their struggles in their 37-0 loss in Miami can be attributed to how banged up they were. They've now had a bye week to get healthy and look to come out energized against the Raiders.
Farewell to San Diego?
With the stadium situation in San Diego at a standstill and Los Angeles calling, it's very possible this could be the Raiders' last trip to San Diego. The Chargers are one of three teams -- along with the Raiders and Rams -- who are looking into making the jump to Los Angeles. All three teams once called Los Angeles home at one time. Roger Goodell would like a couple teams to share a stadium there and it's a strong possibility the Chargers would be one of those teams. This can't be a formal farewell tour as teams never announce they're moving until the trucks are at the loading dock. That time will be a two week window folling the Super Bowl in February.
Lately the Raiders new Carr has been in reverse. His progress has stalled and needs a jumpstart. His best performance of the season came against these Chargers in week six when he threw four touchdown passes. Even the aforementioned Jason Verrett, who intercepted him to end that game, is not playing. Last game the Chargers played, they gave up 288 yards passing and three touchdown passes to Ryan Tannehill -- both season highs for Tannehill. This is a real opportunity for Carr to get it in gear.
Derek Carr vs Brandon Flowers
In their first meeting Derek Carr went right at Pro Bowl cornerback, Brandon Flowers. Andre Holmes beat Flowers on a deep route and Carr hit him in stride for a 77-yard touchdown on the second play of the game. He continued to pick on Flowers right up until Flowers had to leave the game with an injury. Now it's round two of that match-up with Flowers undoubtedly looking to even the score. Carr hasn't had the same success against top corners since that day, facing the likes of Patrick Peterson, Joe Haden, and Richard Sherman.
Antonio Gates vs Anyone
The future Hall of Fame tight end usually sees coverage from safeties due to a better match-up but he is often covered by linebackers as well. Linebackers are better at bodying up with him but the safeties are more likely to be able to stay with him in coverage. He is a tough match-up regardless of who is covering him. I would expect to see Sio Moore and Charles Woodson covering him most often. Anyone else and he will have his way with the Raiders defense.
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