Tale Of The Tape: Oakland Raiders At San Diego Chargers
- QuarterbackMatt McGloin continues to get opportunities to produce with the Raiders, and he is coming off a rough game in Week 15 against the Chiefs. While McGloin threw for 297 yards and had two TD passes, he also had four interceptions that kept the Raiders from climbing back in the game. McGloin needs to show he can avoid costly turnovers if he is going to be Oakland’s quarterback in 2014.The Chargers are still a longshot to make the AFC playoffs, but they are moving in the right direction after their Week 15 upset of the high-flying Denver Broncos. That win at Mile High should give Philip Rivers plenty of confidence for the final two games of the season. Rivers threw two TD passes and avoided throwing any interceptions in the 27-20 victory.
- OffenseThe Raiders need a balanced attack and can’t play come-from-behind football if they are going to give McGloin a reasonable chance to lead the team to a win. That means Rashad Jennings must have a solid day running the football. Jennings is quite good at making the first tackler miss. Rod Streater has become a legitimate contributor at the WR spot. He has caught 54-846-3 this season.The Chargers have had the kind of balance on offense that was missing in previous seasons. Running back Ryan Mathews is not a superstar, but he runs hard and knows how to get the most out of each run. Mathews has 1,012 yards and five touchdowns. Wide receiver Keenan Allen seems to get better each week. He has caught 63-931-7, while tight end Antonio Gates remains a good third-down weapon.
- DefenseThe Raiders have been competitive on the defensive side of the ball, although their Week 15 performance vs. the Chiefs was not their best. The Raiders rank 18th overall and ninth against the run. Middle linebacker Nick Roach has been their best all-around defensive player and he leads the team with 100 tackles. DE Lamarr Houston has 59 tackles and 5.0 sacks.The Chargers rank 25th overall on defense, but the confidence of head coach Mike McCoy’s defense has never been higher after holding off the Broncos when the game was on the line in the fourth quarter. Defensive end Cory Liuget and linebacker Thomas Keiser lead the Chargers with 4.5 sacks. Free safety Eric Weddle has a team-high 97 tackles and 10 passes defensed.
- Special TeamsThe Raiders have had some problems containing opponents punt and kickoff returns and they have not gotten the kind of production from Jacoby Ford they were hoping for with their own returns. Sebastian Janikowski has struggled this year, making 19-of-27 FG attempts.The Chargers have done a good job covering kickoffs and punts this season. That’s a good thing, because Nick Novak does not get their kickoffs as deep as most NFL kickers. Opponents have returned 63 kickoffs, while the Chargers have just 27. Novak has make 28-of-31 FG attempts this season.
The Chargers have won two games in a row and three of their last four games. They are playing a solid, all-around game and that should be enough to get them a home win over the inconsistent Raiders.