After struggling to move the ball en route to a 24-14 loss last week, the Raiders (1-3) host Phillip Rivers and the Chargers (2-2) for their first of two matchups against the division-rival Chargers.
The Raiders were unable to get their offense going last week against the Washington Redskins with starting quarterback Terrelle Pryor out with a concussion and Matt Flynn inserted into the starting position. Luckily for Raider Nation, the explosive Pryor looks to be healthy and ready to take charge of the Raiders offense against a Chargers defense that is allowing 349.3 yards per game.
Pryor started his first NFL game of his career against the San Diego Chargers in the final week of the season last year with then-starting quarterback Carson Palmer out with an injury. Pryor displayed his athleticism throughout the game finishing with 49 rushing yards and one rushing touchdown on nine carries to go along with 13/28 passing for 150 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
But that was last year and Pryor has shown great strides in his ability to throw the ball since then. Pryor beat out Flynn for the starting job largely for his explosiveness due to his athleticism, but also because of his growth as a quarterback.
Pryor will be forced to get the offense going without his starting running back Darren McFadden who has not yet returned to practice after leaving last week’s game early with a hamstring injury. Pryor will instead have Rashad Jennings in the backfield. Jennings replaced McFadden last week and finished the game with 116 total yards on the day (45 rushing, 71 receiving).
Jennings and Pryor should be able to find some running room against a Chargers defense 120.5 rushing yards per game.
On defense, the Raiders face a tough test in Rivers and a Chargers offense that has been revitalized under the new regime in San Diego. The Chargers have been having their way with opponents largely through the air, as Rivers is averaging 299.8 passing yards per game, good for 6th in the NFL, while throwing for 11 touchdowns already.
Woodson and the Raiders secondary will need to keep an eye on Chargers tight end Antonio Gates who has dominated the Raiders in past games. Gates is coming off a 10 reception, 136 yards and two touchdown performance in the Chargers 30-21 victory over the Dallas Cowboys last week.
While the Chargers are only averaging 105.0 rushing yards per game, having the Raiders secondary play a strong game against Eddie Royal and the Chargers wide receivers would go a long way to slowing down their offense.
Despite having forced a couple of fumbles, the Raiders defense is still looking for their first interception on the season. Woodson, Mike Jenkins and company will hope they can change that, though Rivers has only two interceptions through the first four weeks.
The meeting marks the 107th matchup between the Raiders and Chargers, with Oakland leading the lifetime series 57-47-2.
Milestones to watch for:
WR Jacoby Ford
• Needs 87 kickoff return yards to pass Doug Gabriel for 8th place and 155 yards to
pass George Atkinson for seventh on the Raiders’ all-time KOR yards list.
DE Lamarr Houston
• Needs six sacks to enter the top 20 in Raiders team history.
K Sebastian Janikowski
• Has now converted on 136-consecutive PAT attempts.
• Needs just 90 points to reach 1,500 for his career.
WR Denarius Moore
• Needs 408 receiving yards to reach 2,000 for his career.
QB Terrelle Pryor
• Is currently second amongst all quarterbacks with 198 rushing yards. Pryor could
eclipse the Raiders’ single-season mark of rushing yards by a quarterback with just
332 more yards. Rich Gannon set the mark in 2000 with 529.
WR Rod Streater
• Needs 244 receiving yards to reach 1,000 for his career.
S Charles Woodson
• Needs six interceptions to tie Ed Reed for first on the interceptions list among all
active players with 61.
• Needs one INT-TD to tie Rod Woodson for first on the all-time list with 12.
• Needs one defensive touchdown to tie Rod Woodson and Darren Sharper for the
most defensive touchdowns in NFL history with 13.