Oakland Raiders at San Diego Chargers: Keys to the Game

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October 11, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) is sacked by Oakland Raiders outside linebacker Malcolm Smith (53) during the third quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Raiders defeated the Broncos 16-10. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

3. Use the Interior Blitz

While the two most dangerous pass rushers on the Raiders roster remain on the edges in Aldon Smith and Khalil Mack, the Raiders have only had success in the pass rush all year when they’ve brought extra rushers in the interior of opposing offenses, especially linebacker Malcolm Smith.

The interior blitz, combined with the push from interior linemen like Dan Williams, has made it impossible for quarterbacks to step up away from Mack and Aldon Smith, or if they do, they pay for it when Malcolm Smith or another Raider defender.

This week, the Raiders have the ability to overwhelm the Chargers interior, which is manned by two capable but banged up guards and very likely a backup center making his fourth NFL start in as many seasons. While DJ Fluker and Orlando Franklin are Pro Bowl caliber guards, neither is particularly athletic and both are banged up, having missed time this year.

Trevor Robinson, the Chargers backup center, will most likely start due to the injury to starting center Chris Watt. Robinson will also be charged with making protection adjustments on the fly, which could spell disaster when the young center is confused by what the Raiders are doing. If Watt does play, he’ll be doing so with a groin injury that could limit his mobility and power, leaving him vulnerable to being beaten by Raider interior rushers.

With the Chargers likely starting Joe Barksdale and Chris Hairston at tackle due to the injury to King Dunlap, it’s imperative to keep the middle of the Chargers line occupied with blitzes and stunts inside. This will put two mediocre to subpar NFL offensive tackles on islands with two of the NFL’s premier pass rushers, a recipe for disaster if you’re the Chargers.

Next: Keys to the Game: Give Latavius Murray 20 Carriers