The Los Angeles Chargers and the Oakland Raiders couldn't be on opposite ends of the spectrum if they have tried. The Chargers are one of the hottest teams in the NFL, while the Raiders have been one of the league's most disappointing.
After beginning the season 1-2, the Chargers have won five games in a row. Two of the Chargers wins have come on the road, including last week's win over the Seattle Seahawks.
The Raiders have lost four games in a row as they're tied with the New York Giants for the worst record in the NFL at 1-7. Last week, the Raiders suffered their most embarrassing game of the season — a 34-3 loss to the 49ers.
Sunday will be the second game of the season between the Chargers and the Raiders. On Oct. 7, the Chargers beat the Raiders 26-10 in Los Angeles.
Los Angeles at Oakland
Kickoff: Sunday, Nov. 11 at 4:05 p.m. ET
Spread: Chargers -10
Three Things to Watch
1. Philip Rivers
Rivers has played like an NFL MVP candidate during the first half of the season. He ranks third in the league in quarterback rating as Rivers has thrown 19 touchdowns with just three interceptions. Against the Seahawks, Rivers completed only 50 percent of his passes, but he threw two touchdowns and zero interceptions.
If the Raiders are going to pull off the home upset, they will need to find a way to get pressure on Rivers. In eight games, the Raiders are dead last in sacks as they have just seven on the year. If the Raiders cannot generate any pressure on Rivers, it is going to be a long day for their defense.
2. Derek Carr
While Carr did not throw an interception against the 49ers last week, he was sacked seven times in the loss. He also completed 16-of-21 passes for 171 yards.
If Carr can remain upright, he will have an opportunity to gain yards against the Chargers defense. The problem is keeping Carr from getting sacked. He has been sacked 24 times in eight games, which averages out to three sacks per game.
"(If) you get an offensive line that's healthy and playing great, it makes everybody's job a lot easier," Raiders head coach Jon Gruden said. "I'm not going to make any excuses. I think Derek is doing some good things. It does make things difficult when you have the amount of injuries that we have had. I just got a nice call from my brother (Redskins head coach Jay Gruden), he lost all his linemen the other day, too. Got eight games left, we have to continue to coach hard and find a way to improve."
3. Raiders' defense
Oakland's defense was embarrassed by San Francisco on national television during its last outing. Things may not get much better against the Chargers on Sunday. The Raiders are ranked No. 27 in total defense as they're giving up 407.1 yards per game. They also rank last in rushing defense as they're allowing 144.5 a game on the ground.
Things won't be easy this week as the Raiders will try to slow down running back Melvin Gordon. Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther will undoubtedly have his hands full on Sunday.
It is hard to see the Raiders pulling this victory off even with them at home. The Raiders' defense has struggled, and their offense hasn't performed much better.
Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon should have a field day against the Oakland defense. Also, except the Chargers to get after Derek Carr, who has been consistently sacked all season long. This game could get ugly.
Prediction: Chargers 37, Raiders 10
— Written by Antwan Staley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network and has extensive experience covering Florida sports teams. Staley has written for Bleacher Report, the Miami Herald and the Palm Beach Post and is a reporter for Pro Player Insiders. Follow him on Twitter @antwanstaley.