The Oakland Raiders will play their second straight divisional road game this weekend as they travel to San Diego to face the Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 1:25 p.m. PT. The game marks the second of three AFC road contests for the Silver and Black in December, as the team played at Kansas City in Week 14 and will travel to Denver in Week 17. The Raiders will look to sweep the season series for the second consecutive year after taking the first meeting in Oakland by a final of 34-31. Last week, the Raiders dropped a road game to the Chiefs, 13-21, and the Chargers fell at the Carolina Panthers, 16-28.
Here is this week's Game Preview, presented by 95.7 The Game.
Date:Sunday, Dec. 18, 2016Kickoff:1:25 p.m. PTSite:Qualcomm Stadium (1967)Capacity/Surface:71,500/Natural GrassRegular Season:Raiders lead, 61-50-2
Postseason:Raiders lead, 1-0
The Raiders traveled to Kansas City for their matchup on Thursday Night Football with the Chiefs last week and dropped their third contest of the year. The defense led the way, holding the Chiefs to 323 total yards and just 65 rushing yards. The team forced three turnovers on the night, recovering a fumble on a muffed punt, an interception by CB TJ Carrie of QB Alex Smith and a sack-fumble from DE Khalil Mack that was recovered by DL Denico Autry. Mack got his 11th sack of the year in the contest, marking the eighth straight game he has posted at least one sack, a streak that ties a franchise record. It was also Mack's third consecutive game with a sack-fumble. On offense, Oakland averaged 4.4 yards per rush, as RB Latavius Murray posted 103 yards on 22 carries, his second 100-yard rushing effort of the year. RB Jalen Richard added 29 yards on six rushes. QB Derek Carr threw for 117 yards on 17-of-41 passing and WR Amari Cooper led the team with five receptions for 29 yards. Next week, the Raiders will have a short week to get ready for their Christmas Eve matchup with the Indianapolis Colts before traveling to Denver for the regular season finale on New Year's Day. The Chargers will finish out the season at the Cleveland Browns in Week 16 and at home against the Chiefs for their finale.
One of the unsung keys to the Raiders' 10-3 start to the 2016 season has been their ability to force turnovers and win the turnover battle. The team is 15 on the year, a figure that ranks first in the league. Oakland is 9-2 in games where they win or are even in the turnover battle this year and have only lost the turnover battle in two games. The Silver and Black have also only committed nine turnovers on the year, tied for the least in the NFL.
Play-by-play: Spero Dedes
Flagship: 95.7 The Game
Flagship: KSOL 98.9 FM (Radio Estereo Sol, 98.9 y 99.1)
Overview: Head Coach Mike McCoy is now in his fourth season at the helm with the Chargers, posting 27-34 record through 61 games. The Chargers have lost three straight games against the Raiders after being swept in 2015 and dropping the first meeting in 2016, a 31-34 loss in Week 5. San Diego, now 5-8, enters Week 15 after suffering a 16-28 loss to the Carolina Panthers, its second consecutive lost.
Offense: Manning the offense for the Chargers is QB Philip Rivers, now in his 13th season in San Diego. Rivers enters Week 15 as the division leader in passing yards (3,589), passing touchdowns (27) and yards per attempt (7.7) and is on pace for his fourth consecutive 4,000-plus season. Second-year RB Melvin Gordon is approaching his first 1,000-yard rushing season as he leads the team with 997 yards on 254 carries for a 3.9 avg. and accounts for all 10 of the Chargers' rushing touchdowns. With the Chargers having three of their top four receivers from 2015 on I.R., second-year WR Tyrell Williams has emerged as San Diego's leading receiver with 905 yards on 55 catches after totaling just two receptions in 2015.
Defense: Now in his 15th season with the team, defensive coordinator John Pagano is the longest tenured coach on the Chargers' staff. Pagano's unit has posted the seventh best opponent quarterback rating (58.5) and ranks sixth in rushing yards allowed per game (91.9), all while being without their 2015 leading tackler, LB Manti Te'o, who is one of nine Chargers' defensive players on I.R. Former Raider LB Korey Toomer leads the team with 66 tackles (45 solo). Helping the Chargers lead the league in interceptions is newcomer CB Casey Hayward, who leads the NFL with seven. Rookie DE Joey Bosa has a team-high 6.5 sacks in just nine games.
An exclusive look at the AFC West rivalry that is the Oakland Raiders vs. San Diego Chargers through the decades.
• Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio and Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy were the defensive and offensive coordinators, respectively, for the Denver Broncos in 2012. Del Rio and McCoy were also on the staff together with the Carolina Panthers in 2002.
• Chargers defensive back coach Ron Milus (secondary coach) worked under Head Coach Jack Del Rio (defensive coordinator) during the 2012 season in Denver for the Broncos defense. The Broncos finished 13-3 with the help of Milus and Del Rio.
• Chargers special teams coach Craig Aukerman (defensive assistant) was on Raiders Head Coach Jack Del Rio's staff in 2011 with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
• Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy (offensive assistant/quarterbacks) was on the staff of Raiders offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave (offensive coordinator/quarterbacks) in 2000 with the Panthers. McCoy also worked with Raiders linebackers coach Sal Sunseri (defensive assistant/defensive line) from 2002-2008 with the Panthers.
• Raiders defensive assistant Sam Anno played linebacker for the Chargers for two seasons from 1992-1993.
• Chargers LB Korey Toomer appeared in 10 games for the Raiders in 2015 and was a member of the team's practice squad this year before joining the Chargers' active roster on Sept. 28.
• Chargers T Joe Barksdale was drafted by the Raiders in the third round of the 2011 NFL Draft and played all 16 games as a rookie, primarily on special teams.
• Raiders DE Khalil Mack and Chargers RB Branden Oliver (IR) were teammates and roommates at Buffalo from 2010-2013. Mack was the fifth-overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, while Oliver went undrafted.
• Raiders defensive assistant Sam Anno was the assistant head coach at the University of San Diego from 2009-2014.
• Chargers S Dwight Lowery is a native of Soquel, Calif., and then attended San Jose State. Lowery was the first player in San Jose State football history to earn first-team All-American honors two years in a row and led the nation with nine interceptions in 2006.
• Chargers Head Coach Mike McCoy was born in San Francisco, Calif., and went on to attend San Marin (Calif.) High School. After high school, McCoy attended Long Beach State University, when Raiders team ambassador Willie Brown was the head coach.
• Chargers WR Stevie Johnson (IR) and Chargers CB Jason Verrett (IR) are both natives of Fairfield, Calif., and played for Angelo Rodriguez High School. Verrett's older brother, Warren, works in Client Services for the Raiders.
• Chargers TE Asante Cleveland is a native of Sacramento, Calif. Cleveland attended Christian Brothers High School and his mother is the deputy superintendent of the Berkeley (Calif.) School District.
• Chargers G/T Kenny Wiggins is a native of Elk Grove, Calif., and attended Fresno State from 2007-2010 and was All-Western Athletic Conference First Team as a senior in 2010.