TALE OF THE TAPE

Week 1: Oakland Raiders Vs. San Diego Chargers

Raiders
Chargers
Oakland Raiders v San Diego Chargers
Buffalo Bills vs San Diego Chargers
Quarterback
The Raiders are counting on Carson Palmer to help them turn their situation around. He has solid measurables, including good arm strength, quick release and awareness in the pocket. However, his teams rarely win.
Winner Philip Rivers remains an upper-echelon quarterback in the NFL, ranking somewhere in the top 10. He does not have text book form, but he has a strong enough arm and leadership skills.
Offense
Darren McFadden has the kind of speed and explosiveness to take the Raiders offense to a new level, but can he stay healthy for a full season? Darrius Heyward-Bey is a burner at wide receiver and caught 64 passes last year.
Winner The Chargers have plenty of weapons on the offensive side, including Ronnie Brown. Wide receivers Malcolm Floyd and Robert Meachem have the kind of big-play ability that make this unit dangerous.
Defense
Winner Dennis Allen has brought in newcomer Jason Tarver to run the defense and the Raiders may employ a 3-4 in addition to their standard 4-3. That does not usually work. Defensive tackle Richard Seymour is still a monster to block.
The Chargers once again threw their hands in the air after last season and brought in their third defensive coordinator in as many years in John Pagano. The Chargers ranked 32nd in first-down conversions allowed last year.
Special Teams
Winner While the Raiders have not been a force in the NFL for many years, the placekicker-punter combination of Sebastian Janikowski and Shane Lechler is the best in the NFL. Jacoby Ford is a dynamic kick returner.
Nate Kaeding has been a dependable kicker for years, but he tore his ACL in the first game of the season and missed the 2011 season. He returns this year. Punter Mike Scifres excels at killing the ball inside the 10-yard line.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

Oakland Raiders v San Diego Chargers Buffalo Bills vs San Diego Chargers

While this matchup appears fairly even, the Chargers’ edge at the quarterback position and on the offensive side of the ball should be too much to overcome. If the defense can make some improvement, they appear to be an AFC West contender. The Chargers have the edge in this game.

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. Frank Kaminsky #44 of the Wisconsin Badgers (Photo Credit: Mike McGinnis, Getty Images) Kaleb Tarczewski #35 of the Arizona Wildcats (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
    Elite Eight Tale: #1 Wisconsin Vs. #2 Arizona

    It is rematch time. Last year, the Wisconsin Badgers and Arizona Wildcats met in the Elite Eight and Wisconsin walked away with a 64-63 overtime win.

  2. Devin Booker #1 of the Kentucky Wildcats  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) Zach Auguste #30 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
    Elite Eight Tale: #1 Kentucky Vs. #3 Notre Dame

    Coming into the Sweet 16, West Virginia showed confidence that they could be the team that finally knocked off the Kentucky Wildcats.

  3. (Photo Credit: Grant Halverson, Getty Images) (Photo Credit: Gene Sweeney Jr., Getty Images)
    Sweet 16: #1 Duke Vs. #5 Utah

    So much for the weak Pac-12 this year: The Utah Utes are one of three teams from the beleaguered conference to make the Sweet 16 this year, and they’ll face the best ACC team left in the tournament: Duke.

See All Tales of the Tape