Oakland Raiders vs. Chargers: Key Matchups

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Khalil Mack vs. King Dunlap

December 21, 2014; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Khalil Mack (52) during the first quarter against the Buffalo Bills at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Bills 26-24. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

This matchup is all about making Philip Rivers as uncomfortable as possible, and that means getting constant pressure on him throughout the game.

That pressure starts with Khalil Mack, and he has a great opportunity to make an impact against King Dunlap and the rest of the Chargers offensive line.

Dunlap is a quality left tackle so it won’t be easy, but Mack has had impressive success against some of the league’s best tackles, so he’s definitely up to the task.

Mack has registered three sacks this season, while Dunlap has only allowed one sack all year. Something’s gotta give.

It’s important for obvious reason to get pressure on the quarterback, but it’s a bit different in Rivers’ case. Most QB’s struggle against the blitz, but this has been an area where Rivers has excelled most of his career.

If Ken Norton Jr. follows suit and doesn’t blitz heavily against Rivers, then that puts even more pressure on Mack to win his battle against Dunlap. He’s gonna have to get after Rivers quickly as well, because he gets the ball fast and the secondary can’t hold up for long.

Rivers has been on a tear the last three games, completing 67% of his passes for 1,226 yards (avg. of 408 per game), 7 TD’s and 1 INT.

The Raiders secondary, sans Charles Woodson, has not been on a tear this year. They’ve getting getting torn up, the opposite of what Rivers has been doing.

So if Mack (and the rest of the front seven) can get to Rivers, lay a few hits, and make things difficult for him, that’ll go a long way in helping the Raiders secure a W on Sunday.

Next: Key Matchup #3: Ball vs. Gates