As the Oakland Raiders get ready to take on the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Raiders.com Senior Editor Jerry Knaak has five questions he'll keep an eye on and answer after the game.
1. How will the Raiders contain the Chargers passing game?
The Chargers lead the NFL in passing and the Raiders defense is 31st against the pass. San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers threw for 503 yards in a losing effort against a pretty good Green Bay Packers defense. The Raiders did a nice job of keeping Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning in check two weeks ago. The Raiders have 10 sacks in their last three games, however, San Diego has seven guys with 10 catches or more.
2. Will the Raiders handle Antonio Gates?
Chargers tight end Antonio Gates has hauled in 18 receptions in two games since returning from a four-game suspension to start the season. He has historically been a thorn in the Raiders side. Two weeks ago, the Raiders shut out Broncos tight ends after giving up 31 catches for 380 yards and 6 TDs in the first games of the season. Gates is listed as "questionable," but it is a rivalry game and he gets up for these, especially against the Raiders. The Raiders believe he'll play Sunday.
- Can the Raiders get the running game on track?**
Raiders running back Latavius Murray has been in the top 10 all season when it comes to individual rushing yards, but as a team, the Raiders running game has been inconsistent at best. Yes, the Silver and Black have gotten into some situations where passing the pall is the best option, however, the Raiders best overall offensive performance came in a 27-20 win at Cleveland during which they were able to run the ball effectively throughout the game.
4. Will the pass protection rebound?
Against the Denver Broncos the Raiders offensive line faced arguably the best pass rush they've seen all season to date and they gave up four sacks. If quarterback Derek Carr is going to be effective against a Chargers defense that is only allowing opponents to convert 33.8 percent on 3rd down, they're going to have to be better in pass protection this week.
5. Can the Raiders get a win in San Diego?
At one point not that long ago, the Chargers had won 13 straight in this rivalry. The Raiders had a nice little run against the Chargers after breaking that streak, however, the Raiders have not won at Qualcomm Stadium since a Thursday night game in 2011 with Carson Palmer at quarterback.