Top 5 storylines to watch in Raiders-Chargers Week 5 matchup
What to watch in Raiders vs Chargers
The Raiders have been praised for their record on the road. They’ve won three straight road games this season, and have a 7-4 record away from the East Bay in the Jack Del Rio era. The Oakland Coliseum hasn’t been terribly friendly in that span, with the Raiders going 3-6 in the East Bay. That includes a Week 2 loss to Atlanta, a result that seems fair given the Falcons' hot start. The Raiders want to show well before their home fans, and a win over San Diego would give Raider Nation’s most loyal faction something to cheer.
5. Make up for Murray
The Raiders have more injuries to deal with Sunday that at any point this season. While they aren’t in the Chargers dire straits – their injured reserve list is star-studded – the Raiders have their own issues to handle. Odds are great they’ll have to play without linebacker Malcolm Smith, leaving a rookie, a special teamer and a veteran who has been a Raider since Tuesday to man the interior spots. They’ll have to replace Lee Smith with him IR, and may be without Latavius Murray as well.
4. Slow rushing Rivers
The Chargers have lost so many offensive weapons, yet veteran quarterback Philip Rivers still finds ways to generate points. San Diego averages 30.2 points per game and can throw it all over the park. The Raiders have struggled against top-flight quarterbacks thus far, though pressure can slow this one down. Rivers is a pocket quarterback, and Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin can cause havoc if they get to Rivers before he can let it fly.
3. Feast in flight
The Chargers pass defense has struggled through four games this season, and that was before losing cornerback Jason Verrett for the season. San Diego might be without fellow starting corner Brandon Flowers as well. That should create juicy matchups on the outside for Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree, who have done well against better competition. Cooper has started strong but still hasn’t found the end zone. This may be the game that streak gets snapped.
2. AFC West battles begin
The Raiders play their first division opponent on Sunday afternoon, facing a 1-3 Chargers team that is beat up, has blown late leads and has a head coach on the hot seat. They’re in big trouble early, and the Raiders can put them in a huge hole with a victory in Week 5. The road to the playoffs starts in the division, and home wins against old rivals – the Raiders host Kansas City next week – would give them a leg up in a division the Silver and Black believe they can win.
1. Putting teams away
The Raiders had a late two-score lead on Baltimore and blew it. It took a furious rally and a last-second defensive stand to win that game. They were up on Tennessee, but that game also came down to the final seconds. The Raiders have finished extremely well but are putting undo stress on results that should come easier. Those dramatic moments are fun, but don’t always work out. They haven’t shown an ability to get up on a team and put them down. Can they show a killer instinct while holding a second-half lead? That’s what good teams do.