Talk is Cheap

The San Diego Chargers are talking up a storm this week and all of them have one goal in mind. Beat the Oakland Raiders. The fans have always held this game as their mini-bowl when their team is not going to the playoffs. This week it is compounded because both will miss the playoffs. One player even committed to the fans that the Chargers will win this week.

"(Fans) always ask for two things, the playoffs and beat the Raiders," Zeke Moreno said. "We will give them one."

For a team that is 3-12 those are pretty big aspirations. Calling a win, similar to what Chad Johnson did earlier this season when his team faced Kansas City will get you noticed. When the participants are 3-12 and 4-11, not many will even look up or care about the statement.

It may not even make it up in the dumbest team in America's locker room. They wouldn't know where to put it anyway.

The truth is the Chargers believe they are playing better football of late and see this game as very winnable. The Bolts believe they are better than what they have shown this year and are eager to prove it just once.

"We are (better) and we believe that, but sometimes we don't play like that," Zeke Moreno said.

Both teams have suffered through injuries depleting each team of its depth and talent. Neither will likely use it as an excuse in season, but keep an eye on that excuse during post-season press conferences.

Still it is the Chargers vs. the Raiders. One of the few moments in the season that fans come out of their hiding spots and terrorize each other's message boards.

"We are going to go against Oakland and try to get a win," said Osgood. "That is big time bragging rights for us, beating Oakland."

Bragging right in an otherwise dismal season for supporters of each team will give them something to smile about around the water coolers on Monday. It will also give them an offseason to dwell on the debate of, "My team is better than yours."

Right now, both teams suck.

On the field, the rivalry is enough to make each team wary. Playing in San Diego is almost an extra home game for Oakland.

"The Raiders are always going to be tough," Marty Schottenheimer said.

No matter how many players are injured, this game will mean something. The rookies found out went they went to Oakland for the first time that the rivalry is real.

Now at home, the team wants to give their fans, as many that are actually in attendance, a win.

"End the season on a high note, beat the Raiders at home," said Drew Brees. "What's better than that?"

The playoffs. Some dreams weren't meant to come true this year.

The only solace for Brees is he could be playing for his job. Expect Brees to come out firing on all cylinders. That could mean he will be prone to mistakes since he may try to do too much in a game he views as his last chance to shine.

There will be nothing uglier for Brees than laying it all on the line and coming up short against the Raiders. If Brees does falter, his confidence could be shattered forever.

Denis Savage can be reached at

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