The Chargers would be staring a trap game right in the face if the 2-8 team before them was anyone but the rival Raiders. On the first day of training camp this offseason, the Chargers were greeted by thousands of fans chanting, "Beat the Raiders!"
If that is not enough, coach Marty Schottenheimer's twice-annual Raider Week antics should get his team sufficiently psyched for the game. Schottenheimer has a 24-7 all-time record against the Raiders.
"This team is a pretty focused team," LaDainian Tomlinson said. "Marty always reminds us it is one game at a time. Our coaching staff does a really good job of getting us ready for the next game and making us feel like last game was last game and it doesn't mean anything."
Home Sweet Home
One of the primary reasons the Chargers missed the playoffs last season was their 4-4 home record. That has not been a problem so far this year, as the Chargers are 4-0 at Qualcomm Stadium.
Also working in the Chargers favor is that they have played all of their division opponents on the road, and now get to host all three down the home stretch.
Up and Coming
There are several ways to break in young talent, each with its own merits and pratfalls. One method is baptism by fire, which is what Marcus McNeill is enduring as a rookie left tackle. Then there's the watch-and-learn method which worked so well for Philip Rivers.
What is getting less attention is the phase-in method being used at wide receiver. Vincent Jackson has been playing well this year and could supplant 36-year-old Keenan McCardell as early as next season. On the opposite side, Malcom Floyd has been splitting time with Eric Parker and making big plays on a regular basis.
"I just want to contribute," Floyd said. "Whether it's on offense or special teams, I just love to contribute."
After yet another come-from-behind victory last weekend, the Chargers became the first team in NFL history to win back-to-back games after trailing by 17 or more in each. As exciting as those wins were, the Chargers would rather jump out in front and stay there.
"All I know is that being a second half team is really tough," Jackson said. "Whatever we are doing at the end of games is working and we need to keep it up. We have been airing it out a lot in the second half and that has been working for us."