The Oakland Raiders finally got into the win column last week as they defeated the Cleveland Browns 45-42 in one of the best games of the season so far. Now the Raiders will look to pick up win No. 2 of the season on the road against the Los Angeles Chargers. Speaking of the Chargers, they also won last week as they defeated the San Francisco 49ers 29-27.
Sunday will be the 117th all-time meeting between the Raiders and the Chargers, who are also former AFL rivals. The Raiders lead the series 62-52-2, but the Chargers won both games in 2017.
Oakland at Los Angeles
Kickoff: Sunday, Oct. 7 at 4:05 p.m. ET
Spread: Chargers -5
Three Things to Watch
1. Philip Rivers
It is Raiders versus Chargers, so you can expect Rivers to throw it all over the place in Sunday's game. Rivers will hope his Chargers can once again sweep the season series against the Raiders.
In 24 games against the Raiders, Rivers has a 16-8 record and has completed 64 percent of his passes for 6,055 yards with 41 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, good for a 95.4 passer rating. So the Raiders' No. 27-ranked defense (402.5 yards per game) will have its hands full on Sunday.
2. Brandon Parker
This week, former Pro Bowl left tackle Donald Penn was put on injured reserve by the Raiders this week after suffering a groin injury against the Browns last week.
Brandon Parker, the Raiders’ third-round pick from North Carolina A&T, will replace Penn as starting right tackle. Rookie first-round pick Kolton Miller has started at left tackle the entire season. On Sunday against the Chargers, the Raiders will start rookies at both tackle spots for the first time since at least 1970, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
The Raiders will catch a break, because Joey Bosa is still out because of a foot injury. Los Angeles has just six sacks, but that number could grow this weekend.
3. Derwin James
Rookie safety Derwin James has been one of the best players in the league. In four games, James has 26 tackles, three sacks and six pass breakups.
Although the Chargers are without Bosa, James has been able to step up and mitigate his loss. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr will have to pay extra attention to James on Sunday.
"Derwin, he’s a rookie, he’s a new player, but he’s a good player," Carr said. "He doesn’t play like a rookie. Obviously, he has a few plays here and there that anybody would want back, but that’s anybody. He doesn’t look like a rookie. He’s a really good player. I think he’s going to be there for a long time. I’m sure this will be the first time I’ll get to see him, but it won’t be the last."
This game should be interesting. It will take place in the Los Angeles area, but the Chargers should anticipate hearing from plenty of Raiders fans at the StubHub Center. Nevertheless, while the atmosphere will be like a Raiders home game, the Chargers are the better team coming into this game.
Rivers and running Melvin Gordon should be able to have success against a suspect Raiders defense that is near the bottom of the league in terms of yards allowed. Defensively, the Chargers will have opportunities for turnovers against Carr, as he is a gambler.
While it should be an entertaining game, the Chargers should be able to pull off the victory.
Prediction: Chargers 31, Raiders 20
— 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.