Lincoln Kennedy is a veteran of numerous battles with the San Diego Chargers in both Oakland and San Diego. He played right tackle for the Silver and Black from 1998-2003 and faced the Bolts twice a year. He now serves as sideline reporter for Raiders Radio. Kennedy believes that pressuring Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers will be the main key to a Raiders victory Sunday.
"You have to collapse the pocket to not allow Philip Rivers to step up in there and extend the play," Kennedy said. "The Raiders defense have had a problem with the tight end all year, I don't know if you know, they have a pretty good tight end. Even though [Antonio Gates] is listed as questionable, they still have a number of weapons they can go to. Philip Rivers so far this season has been tossing the ball all around. The key is to make them one-dimensional and force turnovers. He gets sloppy, he gets a little reckless with the ball, but it will be a chore for the Raiders."
Kennedy also believes that even though the Chargers defense isn't full of headliners, or playing lights out statistically, the Raiders will have their work cut out for them.
"What overshadows them statistically is the fact that their offense can generate points and force teams one-dimensional, there are holes the Raiders can take advantage of," Kennedy said. "Unfortunately for the Raiders they have had any consistency or rhythm on offense. They've shown flashes. Hopefully after the bye, getting some guys healthy, having some fresh legs, if they establish the run that will help the Raiders game plan out in controlling the game."
Kennedy, who once blocked for the top rushing offense and top overall offense in the NFL, said that it will take patience to get the running game going.
"It's going to take patience and understanding from the guys up front who are blocking the plays and executing the plays," Kennedy said. "More importantly, it's going to take patience from [offensive coordinator Bill] Musgrave not only to find creative ways to the the backs the ball, but to understand what this offensive line does well."
Kennedy says it may not be quite like it was when he played, but the Raider Nation's presence at Qualcomm Stadium is and will be formidable.
"It's been a lot different since I hung up my cleats," Kennedy said. "Southern California Raider Nation is strong. They will make the trek from wherever they are to see their beloved Raiders team play. More times than not this is a ninth home game for us."