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I didn't want to make it too cryptic, I just wanted to say it plainly. So far this season, the Chargers have not performed as well as the Raiders.
Technically, the Oakland Raiders' 2-3 record is better than the Chargers' 2-4 record, but here are a few more noteworthy examples:
- The Raiders are ranked 16th by DVOA and 18th by DAVE, according to Football Outsiders. The Chargers are ranked 21st and 19th, respectively.
- The Raiders have more road wins (1) than the Chargers do (0) despite playing less games on the road so far this season.
- The Raiders have less sacks (10) than the Chargers (11), but average more per game (2) than the Chargers do (1.83).
Get the point? Jeff and I discussed this in yesterday's Squadcast, but this point is simple: This is not the same Raiders that you're used to seeing. They can actually win games, even on the road, against the Chargers. They almost beat the Broncos last week!
You can probably throw out homefield advantage for the San Diego Chargers in this one.
Between what we saw in the crowd at the Steelers game, a rejuvenated Raiders fanbase (coinciding with some actual spunk from the team on the field), and an L.A. Raiders fanbase that wants to prove to the NFL that they deserve their team back in southern California....I'd be surprised if there were more Chargers fans than Raiders fans at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday.
As if the Raiders didn't have enough in their favor, they have had two weeks to rest up and prepare for the Chargers, thanks to an early bye week.
At Thursday's practice, the Raiders had two players that didn't participate fully (but were involved in the individual part of practice). By comparison, the Chargers had four guys that were limited and and another six that missed practice altogether.
So, not only will the Raiders have a homefield-like environment, and more time to gameplan, they will have a significantly healthier team heading into Sunday's game. None of this would matter if it were the same old Raiders, the one with a pathetic roster and inept coaching, but we've already seen that they're better than that this year.
How will the Chargers keep up?