Here is everything you need to know about the Week 5 opponent of the Oakland Raiders, the division rival San Diego Chargers.
"“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”"
Thanks, Sun Tzu.
Let’s get to know Oakland’s Week 5 opponent, a team fans already know quite well, the San Diego Chargers.
Even though we know the Chargers better than most teams, it’s still a good idea to see what the 2016 version is about. Where are their strengths, their weaknesses, etc.
We’ll start with the coaching staff:
Head Coach: Mike McCoy
Offensive Coordinator: Ken Whisenhunt
Defensive Coordinator: John Pagano
Special Teams Coordinator: Craig Aukerman
Mike McCoy’s seat is certainly hot, especially considering San Diego’s start to the season. At 1-3, that is bad enough on the surface. But considering how the Chargers have lost, with multiple blown leads, definitely puts McCoy’s job on the line.
San Diego had a 24-3 halftime lead against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 1, and ended up losing that game in overtime 33-27. The Chargers had a 34-21 lead over the New Orleans Saints with 8:39 to play, and ended up losing that game 35-34.
Per Pro Football Talk, the rest of the NFL is 25-0 when leading by at least 13 points in the fourth quarter. So the Chargers are the only team in the league who has managed to blow a 13 point lead in the fourth quarter, and they’ve done it twice.
Here are notable players on offense:
- QB Phillip Rivers
- RB Melvin Gordon
- WR Travis Benjamin
- WR Dontrelle Inman
- WR Tyrell Offense
- TE Antonio Gates
- TE Hunter Henry
- LT King Dunlap
- LG Orlando Franklin
- C Matt Slauson
- RG D.J. Fluker
- RT Joe Barksdale
Rivers, of course, is the standout player for San Diego. He’s been killing the Raiders his entire career, and even though Oakland has won recent matchups, Rivers usually has a big game.
On the season, Rivers has completed 67.6 percent of his passes for 1,110 yards, with seven touchdowns and just one interception.
Melvin Gordon is off to a hot start in 2016, after a disappointing rookie campaign. Gordon leads the NFL with six rushing touchdowns. He has a total of 230 yards on the ground, with a 3.2 yards per carry average.
The Chargers are without wide receiver Keenan Allen, who tore his ACL in Week 1, but they have speedy wide receivers that could pose a problem for Oakland’s secondary.
Benjamin is the team’s leading receiver, with 21 catches for 277 yards and two scores. Williams is just behind, with 16 catches for 241 yards and one touchdown.
The offensive line is decent at best, having allowed their quarterback to be sacked nine times so far this season. They’ve fared much better in the run game. So this will be a great opportunity for Oakland’s pass rush to add to their sack total.
Here is the San Diego’s defensive depth chart:
- DE Darius Philon
- NT Brandon Mebane
- DT Corey Liuget
- OLB Melvin Ingram
- ILB Jatavis Brown
- ILB Denzel Perryman
- OLB Kyle Emanuel
- CB Brandon Flowers
- CB Casey Hayward
- SS Jahleel Addae
- FS Dwight Lowery
The Chargers have a handful of other notable players not listed as starters, such as DE Joey Bosa and OLB Jerry Attaochu. They also signed former Raiders linebacker Korey Toomer recently.
The defense has a dozen players with double-digit total tackles, with Perryman and Brown leading the way at 22.
San Diego has nine sacks so far, with Ingram leading the team with three. Attaochu is right behind him with two. The Chargers have six interceptions, with Hayward accounting for half of those.
As a team, the Chargers rank 13th in total offense, with 1,443 yards (360.8 per game). They are 8th in passing offense and 15th in rushing. But they can put points up on the board, with 30.3 per game — good for 3rd best in the league.
Defensively, the Chargers are ranked 21st in total yards allowed, but most of that has come through the air. San Diego has the 28th ranked passing defense, surrendering 289.5 yards per game.
Their run defense has actually been quite stout — 7th best in the NFL, allowing 82 yards per game. They give up 27 points per game, ranking 24th there.
The Chargers have a +1 difference in takeaways/giveaways — eight takeaways and seven turnovers.
For as penalized as Raiders fans know their team is, the Chargers are just as bad. They have the second most penalties (36), although they are 15th in penalty yards (239). Oakland has committed 32 penalties for 300 yards.
On paper, and so far on the field in 2016, the Raiders certainly have the advantage going into the game. But that’s why you play the game.
Divisional games are typically closely contested games, and the Raiders are still hoping to grab their first home victory of the season.
If they can do that against San Diego, that’ll make it that much sweeter.