Game Preview: San Diego Chargers at Oakland Raiders

San Diego Chargers

(Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE)

The San Diego Chargers (2-2) head into the black hole to face their longtime AFC west rival the Oakland Raiders (1-3). You could make an argument that both teams could have a better record, the Chargers are one play in the Titans game and holding a 21 point second half lead in the opener against the Texans to being 4-0, but that’s here nor there.

The game time has been pushed back to 8:35 p.m. PDT because of the Oakland Athletics hosting game 2 of the ALDS Saturday night. Because the Raiders and A’s share the stadium, the grounds crew wouldn’t have had enough time to convert the field for the football game.

Last week the Raiders were without their starting QB Terrell Pryor, who was recovering from a concussion he suffered last week against the Broncos in week 2. Matt Flynn, who the Raiders had hoped would be their new franchise QB, started but underperformed and has been demoted to 3rd string. Pryor will return to starter according to Oakland coach Dennis Allen. Undrafted rookie Matt McGloin will backup Pryor.

Both teams are banged up coming into this matchup, especially the devastating injury to Charger’s veteran linebacker Dwight Freeney. San Diego placed him on the injury reserve after he suffered a torn quadricep in the Dallas game. He was leading the team with 15 quarterback hurries and 3 hits.

On the other side, the Raiders backfield situation is in disarray. Darren McFadden is questionable after injuring his hamstring in last week’s game against Washington. Fullback Marceel Reece has been out with a knee injury and has no timetable for his return. Rashad Jennings, who started 10 games last season for the Jaguars after Maurice Jones-Drew was out for the year, will most likely be starting and handling the carries for the Raiders Offense Sunday.

Phillip Rivers will try to continue his outstanding start to the season. He is currently second in passing rating (118.8), touchdowns (11), and completion percentage  (73.9), all trialing Peyton Manning. Rivers threw for 401 yards on 35 of 42 passes with 3 touchdowns in the 30-21 win against Dallas last week. He threw his second pick of the season but it was a tipped ball at the line of scrimmage and a pretty easy interception for Dallas Linebacker Sean Lee. Regardless, Rivers has cut down on turnovers and has been lighting up opposing defenses and his 83.3 completion percentage rate against Dallas was the highest in NFL history while also throwing for 400 yards. River’s is getting more and more comfortable in this system every week, and we should continue to see this kind of production.

Rivers is 6-1 as a starter in Oakland and the Chargers have dominated this matchup recently, winning 16 of the last 19.