The Examiner breaks down the Raiders-Chargers game, including what it will take to win, the matchups, a word about the coaches, our humble predictions and broadcast information.
THREE KEYS TO A VICTORY
1. No one could have predicted the kind of day running back Justin Fargas had in Week 4, when he rushed for 179 yards in Miami after LaMont Jordan went down. With Jordan still listed as questionable against the Chargers, at least the Raiders know their top-ranked rushing game has a solid Plan B. Having Dominic Rhodes back from his suspension won’t hurt, either.
2. As always when facing the Chargers, trying to slow down LaDainian Tomlinson will be key. The Raiders haven’t exactly exerted their will defensively so far this year, and having Derrick Burgess and Gerrard Warren banged up won’t help, so look for San Diego coach Norv Turner to try to give the ball to L.T. as much as possible, including as a slot receiver — or possibly as a passer.
3. Can Daunte Culpepper keep it going for the Silver and Black? His five-touchdown performance (three rushing) against the Dolphins gave his team a huge boost. Still, the 29th-ranked Oakland passing attack is going to have to start improving its game soon.
SAM WILLIAMS vs. ANTONIO GATES
Williams: LBs are going to have their hands full between Tomlinson and Philip Rivers’ favorite target.
Gates: TE never gives up if the play breaks down, making him a dangerous threat at all times.
JERRY PORTER vs. QUENTIN JAMMER
Porter: Receiver only has seven catches — but three touchdowns and a 20.6 yards per reception average.
Jammer: Hard-hitting CB will look to win physical matchup and possibly get interception No. 1.
CORNELL GREEN vs. SHAWNE MERRIMAN
Green: Tackle will have a difficult assignment trying to hold the line and give his QB the time he needs.
Merriman: Chargers’ defensive leader already has three sacks and will be licking his chops for more.
No one would have thought Lane Kiffin’s Raiders would be leading the AFC West entering Week 6 when the schedule was drawn up. But this team can move the ball. Now it just has to focus on defense.
Raiders fans probably aren’t surprised Norv Turner is struggling — but his Chargers have without a doubt underperformed, especially in the ground game. Expect that to be the core of his offensive attack.
THE EXAMINER PREDICTS …
Although the Raiders appear to be a comeback story in the making, one has to think the experience of the Chargers will win out. LaDainian Tomlinson has had two straight games with at least 100 yards of total offense, and he will put this one out of reach. CHARGERS 34, RAIDERS 10
Raiders at Chargers
Sunday, 1:15 p.m.
TV: KPIX (Ch. 5)
Radio: KSFO (560 AM)