Raiders Host Chargers: 3 Keys For A Silver And Black Win

The Raiders, fresh off a come-from-behind win at home against Detroit on Sunday, host Los Angeles in huge division matchup

Scott Gulbransen
November 07, 2019 - 7:17 am

Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

LAS VEGAS, NV (KXST) - Although it’s only Week 10 of the 2019 NFL season, Thursday night’s matchup between the Raiders (4-4) and Los Angeles Chargers (4-5) has a real playoff feel. Both teams are hovering at or around .500 and a win inside the AFC West keeps playoff fires burning.

For the Raiders, they’re playing their second-consecutive game at home for the first time since Weeks 1 & 2 this season and feeling good after a big 31-24 come-from-behind win against the Detroit Lions on Sunday.

Coach Jon Gruden and his team had zero time to revel in their fourth win, though, having to prepare for a resurgent Chargers team fresh off a big win against the Green Bay Packers.

Heading into Thursday night’s game, the Chargers are winners of the last four in the series. LA quarterback Philip Rivers has thrown more (45) touchdown passes against the Raiders than any other team in his career. With Kansas City losing three of their last four, and being without reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes the past two weeks, even the AFC West title is within reach for both teams – albeit a long shot.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr continues to impress coming off his second-straight game five touchdown passes and zero turnovers in the past two weeks. Rookie of the Year candidate Josh Jacobs rushed for two touchdowns last week and continues to be Oakland’s engine on offense.

Here’s what the Raiders must do in front of a national TV audience on Thursday Night Football to beat their AFC West rivals:

Pound the Rock

The success of Jacobs means teams are going to prepare to stop the Raiders rushing game. The Chargers aren't great at that, ranking 20th in the NFL in rush defense. The Raiders are 6th in the league in rushing offense and their running game and will need Jacobs to have another big game to free up Carr’s favorite weapons in tight end Darren Waller and former LA wide receiver Tyrell Williams. If they can get Jacobs close to the 100-yard mark again, and use him effectively in the red zone, it bodes well for their chances.

Rattle Rivers

The Raiders defense played markedly better last week – including that big game-winning defensive stand in the final seconds. Although the unit has a long way to go to climb out of the NFL defensive team rankings basement, their inside push was better with rookie Clelin Ferrell playing his best game of his short career. Rivers doesn’t do well under pressure so Oakland must fluster the veteran, which could lead to turnovers. The problem there is that the Chargers O line is good, having given up the fifth least amount of sacks in the league. If the Raiders can find the pass rush and disrupt LA’s passing game, it will keep Rivers off the field.

Keep Chargers Defense off Balance

In the past several weeks, Gruden has seemed to find a groove with his offensive play-calling. Sure, he’s running the ball a lot but he’s also calling a nice mix of plays that gives Carr the ability to go several different directions on any given down. With the Chargers defense ranking 8th overall, the Raiders offensive line will have their plate full with edge rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.

Despite the talent on the defense for Los Angeles, they have been an inconsistent bunch this far in 2019. They’re coming off a dominating performance against Green Bay holding future the Hall of Famer Rodgers to just 161 yards and the Packers to only 45 yards. Gruden will have to open the playbook with surprise looks to keep the unit off balance and give the Oakland offense time to move the ball.

The Raiders can make this a statement game and vault themselves realistically into the playoff conversation. A close loss won’t be the end of the world for this young and growing roster, but with the game in Oakland, the Raiders should be at their best.

Game time is 5:20pm PT.

We’ll recap the game and more on Sunday’s Silver and Black Today which can be heard live from 8-10am PT on CBS Sports Radio 1140 in Las Vegas and anywhere on the Radio.com app.