The Chargers won their first game of the season last week against the New York Giants and recorded their first victory as a Los Angeles team in more than five decades.
Los Angeles (1-4) snapped a four-game losing streak and will look for a second consecutive victory Sunday against the Raiders (2-3), who have dropped their last three games.
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr is expected to return after a one-game hiatus. He’ll go up against longtime Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.
Here are five things you should know about the Raiders’ AFC West rival:
1. Rivers is probably headed to Canton, Ohio, as an NFL Hall of Famer when he decides to retire. But this hasn’t been Rivers’ best season. He’s had many highs and lows during the Chargers’ poor start. Rivers was brilliant during the Chargers’ comeback against the Giants with a 92-yard drive for the go-ahead touchdown that included tough throws to Keenan Allen. But then there’s the Rivers who threw three first-half interceptions against the Chiefs in Week 3. Rivers can still make all the throws, but he’s rushing often and that has led to interceptions and numerous penalties. Rivers is completing 59.8 percent of his passes for nine touchdowns and five interceptions. He’s ranked 22nd in the NFL with an 86.0 quarterback rating.
2. Rivers probably forced and rushed his throws because the Chargers were playing from behind often and unable to get the running game going during the first month of the season. The Chargers have been outscored 43-7 in the first quarter and that has led to multiple poor performances from star running back Melvin Gordon. New Chargers coach Anthony Lynn prefers a run-heavy offense and he couldn’t do that playing with a deficit. Gordon didn’t rush for more than 80 yards in a game until last week. He broke out with 105 rushing yards and two receiving touchdowns versus the Giants. Gordon might have another big day against the Raiders, who allowed the Ravens to rush for 143 yards.
3. The Raiders’ banged up secondary got burned multiple times by Ravens wideout Mike Wallace last week. The Raiders defensive backs aren’t getting healthier and now get to face a Chargers team loaded with speedy wide receivers. Allen is back to top form and can make any cornerback look silly with his route-running ability. Tyrell Williams and Travis Benjamin provide the big plays for the Chargers and tight ends Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates are red zone targets. Oakland might not have enough defensive backs to keep up with the Chargers’ offense.
4. Carr is probably not 100 percent healthy from the back injury he sustained a few weeks ago. It’s crucial for the Raiders’ offensive line to keep him standing. But that won’t be easy against Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram who team up to form arguably the best pass-rushing tandem in the NFL. Oakland might be better off running the ball a lot more than throwing it against the Chargers, who give up 161.2 yards on the ground per game, worst in the league.
5. The Chargers have plenty of talent at numerous positions, but linebacker isn’t one of them. The Raiders have their own issues at linebacker, but it’s probably not as bad as Los Angeles’ situation. Kyle Emanuel, Korey Toomer and Jatavis Brown patrol the middle of the field for the Chargers. Who? Expect Marshawn Lynch to break out of his funk against this rushing defense.