The NFL season has hit the halfway mark and the Chargers (6-2) are coming off a huge victory against the Seahawks in Seattle.
Why is it a huge victory? Because the Chargers are the first AFC team to defeat the Seahawks at home since 2011 when the Cincinnati Bengals won 34-12).
Now the Chargers face another tough task this week traveling to Oakland to face the Raiders. Yes, the Raiders are 1-7 and just got bull rushed by the San Francisco 49ers last Thursday night 34-3, but regardless, it is the Chargers versus the Raiders and the Oakland Coliseum will be blacked out and loud.
“Yes, yes, it's always a challenge, always exciting,” explained Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. “I look forward to going there and playing. It's a heck of an atmosphere. It won't be there much longer, so not too many more chances to go in there.”
This will be Rivers 13th visit to the Coliseum where he is 8-4 all-time. Rivers has thrown six touchdowns and 0 interceptions in the last three games against the Raiders. Even though the Chargers are 10-point favorites, according to oddshark.com, head coach Anthony Lynn knows all too well what happens in “easy” games.
“Well, it's the National Football League. They know that you can get beat any given Sunday. I told them about the story about the '98 Broncos, undefeated. We go play New York, who has only won three games all year, and we got beat in that game. We went on to win the Super Bowl that year — but that's a game we feel like we played them ten times and beat them ten times, but we got beat that day.”
On that 1998 team, Lynn was a running back. The Giants beat the Broncos on a game-winning touchdown from Kent Graham to Amari Toomer with 57 seconds left in the game. Lynn knows first hand what happens when a team is riding confident, but the players don’t feel like they have done anything yet.
“Our focus is it’s a division game,” said center Mike Pouncey. “It’s a big game for us because if we want to get to were we want to be at the end of the season we must win division games and it starts in Oakland.”
The Raiders are not quite what anyone expected them to be under head coach Jon Gruden, but that doesn’t matter to the Chargers. What matters is Oakland is in their way from being 7-2 and only one game behind the division leader Kansas City Chiefs.
Nuts N’ Bolts
• There have been weekly questions about two of the teams best young players, defensive end Joey Bosa and tight end Hunter Henry, and when both could see the field. Anthony Lynn said they are taking it easy with Bosa, but that he is making progress. Henry is recovering from a torn ACL and is eligible to return next week. Lynn said they haven’t had discussions about activating him next week. The team and fans are hoping Henry can make a recovery the way defensive end Melvin Ingram did in 2013 and help catapult the team into the playoffs.
• Chargers cornerback Desmond King won the AFC defensive player of the week after his game-sealing pick-six against the Seattle Seahawks.
• Injury report—did not practice: DE Joey Bosa (foot), DT Darius Philon (ankle) Limited: DE Chris Landrum (hip)