The Oakland Raiders return to the O.Co Colseum for their final homegame of the season, taking on the San Diego Chargers on Christmas Eve in another round of Thursday Night Football.
In what could possibly be the last home game ever in Oakland, the Raiders have plenty to play for despite being eliminated from playoffs after their 30-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers last week.
18-year-veteran Charles Woodson announced his retirement on Tuesday night, making Thursday night's game his final appearance in front of the home crowd in Oakland. The rest of the team has already rallied behind him, stating that they want to win these final two games for their veteran leader.
Woodsn and the Raiders secondary will face a Chargers offense that is missing a lot of its key pieces. Wide receiver Keenan Allen is out for the season with an injury, but quarterback Philip Rivers has continued to produce at an elite level. Rivers has already eclipsed 4,000 passing yards, while throwing for 26 touchdowns and 12 interceptions.
Rookie running back Melvin Gordon is out for the remainder of the season, causing Danny Woodhead to be the next man up. Woodhead is a speedy back that must be contained before he breaks tackles and gets to the second level. He's also a great pass-catcher, hauling in 64 receptions for 651 yards and six touchdowns. He also has three scores on the ground.
Woodson will have to lockdown on tight end Antonio Gates, who has always been a favorite target for Rivers but is even more now that they've been decimated with injuries at the receiver position. Gates has 51 catches for 585 yards and four touchdowns.
Second-year quarterback Derek Carr will face another tough matchup against a Chargers defense that has been stingy through the air all season, allowing just 237.0 passing yards per game.
Rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper is coming off bounce-back game, hauling in six receptions for 120 yards and two touchdowns. He'll have a tough matchup against cornerback Jason Varett, who was named a Pro Bowl alternate this season.
On the other hand, the rushing defense has struggled all year, giving up 120.6 rushing yards per game and 14 rushing touchdowns. This should leave some running room for Latavius Murray, who leads the AFC in rushing and was also named a Pro Bowl alternate.
The Raiders will head out on the road next week to end the season, taking on the Chiefs in Kansas City.