Week 17: Oakland Raiders At San Diego Chargers
- QuarterbackMatt Leinart was forced into action when Carson Palmer suffered a rib injury. X-rays taken immediately showed there was no fracture, but it’s not a given that Palmer will play in the season finale. If he can’t go, the scatter-armed Leinart will get a chance to run the Raiders offense, and that’s not likely to be an inspiring performance.The Norv Turner era in San Diego will reportedly come to an end after this game. Philip Rivers has had a disappointing season, but he was solid in the Week 16 win over the Jets. Rivers has had many leadership qualities over the year, but he has consistently shown his frustration this season and he has not had his best season despite completing 63.7 percent of his passes.
- OffenseThe Raiders will try to get their running game going against the Chargers. Darren McFadden broke the 100-yard mark in Week 15 against the Chiefs but was held to 33 yards by the Panthers in Week 16. He is averaging 3.3 yards per carry this season. Tight end Brandon Myers has emerged as the team’s top receiver with 75 receptions.The Chargers have plenty of weapons but have rarely played consistently on the offensive side this season. The Chargers started the season running the ball fairly well, but that part of the game has fallen apart. Wide receiver Malcolm Floyd is the team’s leading receiver but 56 catches is not a very impressive total.
- DefenseThe Raiders rank 21st in overall defense and 21st against the pass. The Raiders have not had many impact players on defense this year and that’s why they are among the worst teams in the league this year. Outside linebacker Philip Wheeler has played with speed and aggressiveness and leads the team with 107 tackles.The Chargers have struggled to stop good offensive teams all season, but the Raiders don’t qualify in that area. The Chargers rank 11th in overall defense and 17th against the pass. The best player on the defensive side of the ball has been free safety Eric Weddle, who leads the team 89 tackles, has 12 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
- Special TeamsSebastian Janikowski remains one of the top attributes for the Raiders. Janikowski has a legitimate chance to hit any attempt of 60 yards or less because he has superior leg strength. Veteran Shane Lechler remains an effective punter.The Chargers have done a decent job of containing opponents’ special teams. Nobody has returned a punt for more than 28 yards against them. Mike Scifres has dropped 30 of his 66 punts inside the opponents’ 20-yard line.
The game merely marks the end of the season for both teams and the end of Turner’s time leading the Chargers. His players may muster up the effort to send him off with a win. That nice gesture really doesn’t mean a thing in the long run, but it will allow Turner to leave San Diego with a half-smile on his face.