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Five Raiders Questions with Silver and Black Pride

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Levi Damien from Silver and Black Pride stops by to answer our questions about the Oakland Raiders prior to Sunday's game.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

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1. It appears that the Raiders' coaching has finally caught up with the talent on the roster and that big things are ahead for this franchise. Is this how the fans are viewing Jack Del Rio right now?

Most fans seem to have bought into him as the head coach as far as I can tell. He commands more respect from the players and the fans than Dennis Allen did, that's for sure. Though to be fair, Allen was in a very tough position. Following Hue Jackson and then having the GM who hired you systematically gut the team before your eyes. He wasn't a great coach, but he would have had to have been a damn miracle worker to get much out of that squad, which seemed to get less and less talented every season. It was a position Del Rio was wise not to jump into and the Raiders didn't want to burn that bridge. He ends up the right coach at the right time. Now we'll see if all the potential turns into reality....

2. How is this team (specifically the defense, and more specifically the run defense) playing so well when their big name defensive lineman (Justin Tuck) has mostly been a waste of money?

I don't think he was a waste of money. Though he had just 5.0 sacks last season, it led the team. And what he brings as a leader goes beyond the field. He is a tremendous locker room presence. Losing him for the season to injury is unfortunate and the team hopes rookie Mario Edwards Jr can fill in for him. So far he has shown up well. The free agent addition this offseason was Dan Williams and he is a primary reason for the improved run defense. The middle of the line is pretty secure with him in there. On the outside it's Khalil Mack who seals the edge as one of the best run stopping edge defenders in the league....

3. Who is one player on the Raiders roster that Chargers fans probably don't know of, but will have a big impact on Sunday's game?

Keep an eye out for this up and coming journeyman Charles Woodson. He has the potential to be pretty good if he keeps at it. But other than that youngster, keep an eye out for left guard Gabe Jackson. He has been graded as the best guard in the NFL by Pro Football Focus and the best run blocker among all offensive linemen. The Raiders know what they have in him. They will either simply run Latavius Murray through the left guard spot or pull Jackson to the right and run behind him there. Either way, Murray will be taking Route 66 a lot in this game. I'll add that I think this game we could see rookie third round tight end Clive Walford finally emerge with a few catches. He was supposed to be the starter this season but after missing some time with injury, he fell behind. Keep an eye out for him....

4. Usually, when a team has a young QB, they want to run the ball and win with their defense. Is this how the Raiders are trying to win games these days?

No. Even though that's how they got one of their wins this season, they still lean on Derek Carr's arm far too much. The other game was against the Ravens who have a terrible pass defense so throwing on them was the right decision. As you and I both know, if the Raiders are smart, they will stick with the ground game to try and beat the Chargers. Not only because the Chargers are vulnerable against the run, but because keeping Philip Rivers off the field as long as possible is their best chance to win the game....

5. What's your prediction for Sunday's game?

Which game? Oh, right. Well, I predict it will be football and it will be played in San Diego between the Raiders and Chargers. You can take those predictions to the bank or to Vegas. Either way, straight money.

And I have the Chargers winning a close one. The Philip Rivers to Keenan Allen connection will be the difference that gives the Chargers the advantage.