The Bye week is over, it is now time for the Raiders to get back to work preparing for their next opponent. The San Diego Chargers are the team that they now start preparing for and the Chargers are coming off three straight games that came down to the final seconds. It will be a tough test for the Raiders facing a rivalry game like this out of the Bye.
Going into this week off the Raiders were beat up and coming off two very close games that ended up being heartbreaking losses. I recently put out a poll asking if the readers felt like this was a good time or a bad time for a bye and it was overwhelmingly voted to be a good time for the bye. It was one of the most lopsided polls we have ever done at Silver & Black Pride with more than 91% of votes coming in for the bye being timed well this year.
I completely agree with those findings, because of the circumstances leading up this year's bye. The Raiders are playing very well as a team, but they still need a game where all aspects of the team show up at the same time. So far if the offense did well, the defense didn't and vice versa. The only difference was week 1 against the Bengals when all three aspects played at the same level which was very, very bad.
We are hoping that the bye week has given the players and coaches the break they needed to figure out how to fine tune this team because they are close to being good. There is a lot of optimism surrounding both the team and the fans for a reason, they really do seem on the verge of being a good team. The difference between where they are now and where they want to be is learning how to win.
Sometimes as humans our brains and bodies get exhausted, they get stressed out and they stop performing at their best. The same can be said for football teams. Going into this bye week the Raiders team was exhausted and stressed out, doing just enough to lose instead of win the last couple of weeks. Now that they got their break we will see if they will come out rejuvenated and ready to turn the corner or if all of our optimism from their tough play so far was for naught.
This really couldn't be a better litmus test for the Raiders. They get to play a divisional rival that has been a much better team than them in recent times and it also gives them the chance to be at .500 again on the season after Week 7. They have the rest that they needed, they have the opportunity that they believe they deserve, now let's see what that is going to give us in their play.
The Chargers are 1-2 over their past 3 games, but all three of those games came down to the final seconds. Most recently they played a very good, undefeated Green Bay Packers team all the way to the end when a batted down pass stopped them from bringing the game to overtime. The week before that they lost on a last second play to the Pittsburgh Steelers and the week before that they beat the Cleveland Browns in the final seconds.
San Diego is a very talented team and Philip Rivers is coming off one of his best games of his career even though it came in a loss. They will be ready for the Raiders and Oakland will have to make sure to be ready as well. If the Raiders come out flat from the bye week they run a real risk of being routed.
The Chargers are always tough in this rivalry and they are extra motivated right now because of how these last few games played out. They could easily be 4-2 instead of 2-4 right now, but instead they are looking at a must win game against Oakland. That also means if the Raiders come out and dominate this game instead to go 3-3 that they will have proven that they are a team worthy of the optimistic feeling surrounding them right now.