NFL: Raiders vs Charger preview

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 It might have taken longer than some expected, but No. 1 overall draft pick JaMarcus Russell will be making his first start for the Silver and Black on Sunday. His statistics — and even the outcome of this game — aren’t as important as making sure the future of the franchise gets some more much-needed time under center. He faces a tough Chargers defense, so this game should serve as an excellent late-season progress report.

2 Lane Kiffin has done a good job getting the most out of his players, most of whom probably knew they weren’t headed to the playoffs after last year’s miserable campaign. While a five-win season wouldn’t be a success for most teams, Kiffin has his players on the same page and they know they must bounce back from last week’s trouncing.

3 The Raiders have struggled against the run all season and they won’t get a respite when LaDainian Tomlinson rumbles into town. While the the Chargers are AFC West champs, they are still looking to lock up the No. 3 seed and that means the L.T. will still get his carries.

KEY MATCHUPS

THE EXAMINER PREDICTS …

Sure, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers has been inconsistent, but when facing the Raiders, teams have been able to rush to their heart’s content. Learning to stop the run may be just as critical as Russell’s development for next season.

CHARGERS 27, RAIDERS 12

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