Countdown to Paydirt: at San Diego Chargers

The Oakland Raiders played the San Diego Chargers tough in their week six matchup at O.Co Coliseum, though the men in the Silver & Black ultimately fell to the Chargers 31-28.

Derek Carr and the Raiders offense actually had a chance to comeback and win the game with a final drive score, but the rookie quarterback was intercepted deep down the left sideline by rookie cornerback Jason Verrett.

Verrett will be out of the game after tearing his labrum in three places and needing surgery, but the Chargers do have starting cornerback Brandon Flowers back after injuring his groin in their last matchup.

The Chargers secondary struggled against the Raiders passing game last time, with Carr tossing for a career-high four touchdowns and 282 yards and the one interception.

San Diego will likely look to get more of a pass rush against the Raiders offensive line in an effort to defend against the pass more. The Raiders offensive line will be missing rookie left guard Gabe Jackson, who will be out with a knee injury. Veteran Khalif Barnes will get the nod at left guard instead, with second-year Menelik Watson starting at right tackle. Both have been fighting their own injuries this week.

Should the Chargers get their pass rush going, the Raiders must find a way to get their running game going to slow down that pass rush. The Raiders are still averaging an atrocious 62.1 yards per game on the ground, last in the NFL.

On defense, the Raiders will face running back Ryan Mathews who missed their last matchup due to injury. Sunday will be his first game back, giving the Chargers two more-than-capable running backs in the backfield in Mathews and Branden Oliver, who rushed for 101 yards and one touchdown in the start in Oakland.

Both Mathews and Oliver are strong runners with great receiving ability out of the backfield, making it even more important for the Raiders to maintain discipline. They also must tackle well, unlike last week when they tried to bring Broncos running back C.J. Anderson down.

Raiders cornerback TJ Carrie is questionable for the game, but the Raiders do have second-year corner D.J. Hayden back on the field despite a slight groin injury last week. Carlos Rogers is out with a knee injury.

The Raiders need all the corners they can get to defend against Keenan Allen, Antonio Gates and Malcolm Floyd. Floyd beat the Raiders secondary deep the last time around, hauling in five receptions for 103 yards and one touchdown. The Chargers are currently ranked 11th in the league in passing, averaging 252.0 yards per game.

Things don’t get any easier next week, as they play after a short week against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday Night Football.

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