Reinforcements have arrived for the San Diego Chargers, who also are getting some help from the schedule-makers.
The winless Raiders (0-9) will be in town today, when the Chargers (5-4) try to snap a three-game losing streak, which included their worst loss in 18 seasons.
Running back Ryan Mathews and inside linebacker Manti Te'o are expected to return for the Chargers, who also might have linebacker Melvin Ingram back in the lineup. The trio has been out since September.
The Chargers are taking the infusion with some perspective. The bulk of their five-game winning streak came without Mathews, Te'o and Ingram, as did the three straight losses, which included a lackluster 37-0 defeat at Miami on Nov. 2.
“No question it makes us a better football team,” quarterback Philip Rivers said. “But it doesn't guarantee that we are just going to go out there and play great. But it is certainly nice to have them out there.”
The Raiders, meanwhile, haven't won in almost a year. Their previous victory was against Houston on Nov. 17, 2013.
But they almost beat the Chargers on Oct. 12 before rookies Branden Oliver and Jason Verrett saved San Diego.
Rookie Derek Carr threw four touchdown passes that day for the Raiders.
“One thing for me is you know their personnel,” Carr said. “For me as a rookie, that's always something that's unknown. You can see something on film, but until you're really out there playing against somebody and you see him for the first time, you don't really know. So that's something that's really helpful.”