"If we want to keep that lead in the division we gotta win this game," Raiders left guard Robert Gallery said. "It's a lot better being 3-2 than 2-3. It's hard to get those games back. So this is the next game on the schedule, it's the most important and so it's a huge game for us.
"We need to win this game period. It doesn't matter if it's a division or a non-division opponent. Division games are important but like coach said, this is the next game on the schedule. If we can go to 3-2 it's where we want to be."
Oakland has lost its last 15 division games and hasn't defeated a team from the AFC West since upsetting Denver, 25-24, in the snow on Nov. 28, 2004. That was the game in which Ronald Curry made his brilliant leaping, one-handed touchdown catch then dropped to the end zone to make snow angels.
Since then, the Raiders have struggled in their own division. They've lost five straight to Denver, eight in a row to Kansas City and seven consecutive to the Chargers.
However, a win Sunday in San Diego would not only end the losing streak in the AFC West but it would also enable Oakland to maintain sole possession of first place in the division.
"I think teams, they look at us in the AFC West as A), they hate us, and B), we haven't beaten them so let's go out there and continue the streak," running back LaMont Jordan said earlier this season. "That's not taking anything away from other teams. I just think at some point you've got to fight back."