Each Week, Raiders.com Senior Editor Jerry Knaak poses five questions heading into the next matchup. With the short week and the Raiders taking on the Chargers Thursday night, here are this week's queries.
1. How will the Raiders respond on short rest?
This is the Raiders only Prime Time game of the 2015 campaign and comes on a Thursday night, Christmas Eve no less. After a hard-fought, physical game against the Green Bay Packers this past Sunday, it'll be interesting to see if fatigue plays a factor against a Chargers team that has been stingy with points the past few weeks. The good part of this for the Raiders is that Sunday and Thursday are home games. The bad news is, the Raiders are 2-5 at home.
2. Which Raiders offense will show up?
Prime Time. Raiders. Chargers. AFC West. The Raiders are 6-8, and the Chargers are 4-10. Neither team will be playing beyond Jan. 3. These two teams are part of a historic rivalry. The Raiders defeated the Chargers earlier this year in San Diego and I'm sure the Bolts would like to even the score. The Chargers took it to the Miami Dolphins in San Diego this past Sunday and the Raiders will want to end the home slate on a high note. The Raiders provided plenty of fireworks the last time with 412 yards of offense and 37 points. The Chargers made it interesting with 417 yards and 29 points as their comeback fell short. San Diego is allowing just 237 yards per game through the air while the Raiders are averaging 254.3. The Chargers are allowing 120 yards per game on the ground and the Raiders feature the AFC's leading rusher, Latavius Murray, who needs just 44 to reach 1,000 yards on the season. After topping Denver with just 126 yards of total offense, and bouncing back with 372 in a loss to Green Bay, it'll be interesting to see how productive the Raiders offense is Thursday night.
- Will the weather be a factor?**
I mentioned this a few weeks ago heading into the Denver game. However, it has been raining pretty steadily here in Northern California the past days. It rained throughout this past Sunday's game, heavy at times. The field was slick, players slipped, the ball was slippery at times. Both of these teams like to air it out with quarterbacks Derek Carr and Philip Rivers throwing the ball all over the yard. It's expected to rain right through Christmas. Dropped passes and ball security will be things to keep an eye on.
4. Will Khalil Mack tie or break the Raiders single-season sack record this week?
Defensive end Derrick Burgess set the Raiders single-season sack record with 16 in 2005. Mack currently leads the NFL with 15 after dropping Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers once last weekend. Mack is already the first Raider with double-digit sacks in a season since Burgess (11) and Hall of Famer Warren Sapp (10) did it in 2006. After recording just four in his rookie season, Mack has six in his last two games.
5. How will Charles Woodson go out?
Thursday night will be Charles Woodson's final home game as a Raider. The sure-fire Hall of Famer announced his retirement from the NFL late Monday afternoon. He will finish his career with one more game, at Kansas City, Jan. 3. In 2013, Woodson tied the NFL record with his 13th defensive touchdown, on National TV, against the San Diego Chargers. Woodson and Raider Nation will say their goodbyes, and there probably won't be a dry eye in the house. I'd expect Woodson to make some big plays in this game. We can't wait for his name to be called and for Charles Woodson – 24 – to run out of that tunnel one last time.