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Game Preview: Raiders at Chargers, Chargers on Defense

Dogpile on Campbell!  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Dogpile on Campbell! (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
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Because of odd scheduling, it has been a while since I've actually done one of these. Because of that, we're going to be leaving the historical stuff out and focusing on where the teams rank today.

Raiders Running the Ball

  • 5th in Yards/Game (139.7).
  • 4th in Yards/Carry (4.7).
  • 11th in Rush TDs (9).
  • 16th in Runs for 1st downs (21.6%).
  • 2nd in Runs for 20+ Yards (14).
  • 24th in Fumbles (7).
One of the reasons the Chargers lost to the Raiders almost two months ago was an inability to stop Michael Bush when they really needed to. For the day, Bush ended up with over 100 yards and a rushing TD on 26 carries. If the Chargers hope to come out victorious on Sunday, they're going to need to find some way to stop the Raiders' strong running game or do enough offensively to make them abandon it completely.

The difference in this game is that the Raiders will have Darren McFadden back and at full-strength. When the Raiders get a lead, and can give McFadden plenty of carries, he has been one of the better RBs this season. In the 9 games he's played in he has ran for 89 yards or more 6 times and has 4 TDs on the season as well. In the last two weeks, with the Raiders falling behind early to the Steelers and Dolphins, McFadden ran for 14 yards (1.4 YPC) and 2 yards (0.3 YPC). To take out the Raiders' best weapon, the Chargers need to score early and often.


Chargers Stopping the Run

  • 3rd in Yards/Game allowed (81.1).
  • 3rd in Yards/Carry allowed (3.5).
  • 13th in Rush TDs allowed (8).
  • 4th in Runs for 1st downs against (18.6%).
  • 2nd in Runs for 20+ Yards allowed (3).
  • 32nd in Fumbles recovered (1).

A very good, but maybe not great, rushing defense. The lack of fumbles forced and recovered seems odd, perhaps just unlucky, and ideally you would like for the defense to be better at stopping goal-line runs from turning into TDs.

However, with that being said, it would appear that no team is going to come into San Diego and run all over them to victory. This is not a defense that is going to put the game out of reach for the high-powered Chargers offense, and that's really all you could ask for.


Advantage: Tie. 


Raiders Throwing the Ball

  • 27th in Yards/Game (196.1)
  • 23rd in Yards/Attempt (6.8)
  • 24th in TDs (12)
  • 26th in Passes for 1st down (30.7%)
  • 22nd in Passes for 20+ yards (30)
  • 29th in Sacks taken (33)
  • 20th in Interceptions thrown (13)

This one is difficult to break down because the Raiders have been so inconsistent with their passing offense this season. In 11 games, the Raiders have throw for less than 200 yards 5 times (and are 1-4 in those games, with the 1 win being against the Chargers). In a nutshell, outside of a half of football here or there (including the 2nd half of the Chargers game), the Raiders are one of the worst teams in the league at throwing the ball.


Chargers Defending the Pass

  • 2nd in Yards/Game allowed (192.5).
  • 2nd in Yards/Attempt (6.4).
  • 4th in TDs allowed (11).
  • 5th in Passes for 1st downs allowed (30.6%).
  • 1st in Passes for 20+ yards allowed (26).
  • 1st in Sacks (33).
  • 10th in Interceptions (13).
I'll steal this from a tweet by Kevin Acee just a few minutes ago: Tom Brady, Matt Schaub, Kyle Orton and Peyton manning have a combined QB rating of 98.6 when going up against teams not named the Chargers. Their combined rating against the Chargers is 72.8. In layman's terms: Ron Rivera and the San Diego defense make great QBs mediocre.

Against mediocre QBs this season, a group in which I will include Jason Campbell, they have consistently knocked them out of games. Campbell seems to be the exception, so far, but a second match-up with Rivera (who is typically a better second-half coach) makes me think that he won't fare so well this time.

Advantage: Chargers.