The Los Angeles Chargers are riding a five-game win streak, and the Oakland Raiders are looking to snap a four-game skid – something has to give Sunday afternoon at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum.
Coming off a disappointing result last Thursday night at Levi’s Stadium, the Silver and Black will look to right the ship in their return to the OACC, but they’ll have their hands full against a Chargers team that now finds themselves in the thick of the AFC playoff picture.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:05 p.m.; here are three matchups that will go a long way in determining the winner in the Week 10 clash.
Raiders linebackers vs. Melvin Gordon
It’s no secret that the Silver and Black have had a really hard time stopping the run as of late.
Over the past two weeks – both Raiders losses – the team has surrendered a combined 365 rushing yards, and it’s hard to win a game in the NFL when you’re letting a team control the line of scrimmage like that.
On the other side of things, Melvin Gordon is once again in the midst of another strong campaign, and the Silver and Black’s front will have its hands full against the powerful running back.
Whether it’s Jason Cabinda, Marquel Lee, or some combination of other Raiders defenders, the team’s linebackers in particular will have to find a way to take down Gordon when they have their chances, and limit his YAC.
The Silver and Black actually did a decent job of limiting Gordon’s ground productivity the last time the teams met; let’s see if they can replicate that success this weekend.
Derek Carr vs. Philip Rivers
No matter the records, no matter the time of the year, it’s always a celebration when these two AFC West foes get together.
And if history has taught us anything, that celebration typically involves big days from the team’s respective quarterbacks.
Let’s start with Philip Rivers.
After a slow start to 2018, the veteran gunslinger has come on very strong as of late, and at this point, he’s actually a dark horse MVP candidate.
Week 5 – when the teams last tangoed – Rivers, simply put, was stellar. He connected on all but five of his pass attempts, finishing his afternoon with 339 yards, a pair of touchdowns, and an impressive 143.4 quarterback rating.
As far as Derek Carr is concerned, while the Raiders quarterback’s stats aren’t quite as impressive as Rivers, he does rank just behind Rivers in passing yardage, and actually looked pretty good when he’s had time to work.
However, giving No. 4 ample time to operate has been a struggle as of late, as the Raiders offensive line has dealt with more than its fair share of shakeups due to injury.
Rivers and Carr are two quarterbacks who I love to watch play the game, so I’ll be keeping a close eye on which one of them enjoys the better day Sunday afternoon at the OACC.
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Daryl Worley vs. Keenan Allen
If the Raiders want to find success Sunday afternoon back at home, they’re going to have to find a way to keep the Chargers offense one dimensional.
One way to do that would be to take away Philip Rivers’ favorite target, which in this case is Keenan Allen.
The former California Golden Bear far and away leads the Bolts in receptions – as well as receiving yards – and for good reason, he’s again Rivers’ go-to guy in 2018.
And while there will likely be multiple defensive backs who get a shot at slowing down Allen come Sunday, I think Daryl Worley will be one guy who spends extended time locked in on No. 13.
Overall, Worley has been pretty good since returning from a four-game suspension earlier this season, and now that it looks like he’s solidified one of the Raiders base cornerback positions, I’m excited to see what he does over the final eight weeks.
A big game against Keenan Allen would be a great place to start.