Oakland Raiders: Keys To Victory Over San Diego Chargers

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Nov 16, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders wide receiver Kenbrell Thompkins (85) runs after making a fourth quarter catch against the San Diego Chargers at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The Oakland Raiders, having had a week off are rested and are relatively healthy as they get set to square off against another divisional opponent – and possible future roommate – the San Diego Chargers. It almost feels to early to call this a “must win” but the loser of this game might find themselves out of the race for the AFC West title – or at least, on the razor’s edge of being out of the race. So it might feel too early, but if the Raiders want to challenge for a division title in 2015, this game is absolutely a “gotta have.”

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If the Raiders lose this game, they’ll fall to 2-4, and find themselves a full four games behind the 6-0 Broncos in the division standings. With ten games remaining in the season after that, making up four games while possible, would be a Herculean task – it’s the position the Chargers currently find themselves in and the position the Raiders want to desperately avoid.

3-3 and three games back sounds a whole lot more manageable. Especially when you still have a game against Denver left on the schedule.

The Chargers, meanwhile, if they were to lose the game, would find themselves sitting at 2-5 with virtually no shot at the division crown. They’ll be fighting like hell to get to 3-4, and at the very least, put themselves in a better position to snag a wild card. They’ll need help and a great run down the stretch of the season if they hope to make it to the playoffs.

All this to say, we’re only in week six, but this is actually a pretty critical game for both teams in terms of possible playoff implications – the winner will be in a better position to climb that hill to get into the playoffs, while the loser is looking at needing to scale Mt. Everest to get in.

Division games are always tough, hard fought battles, and the Raiders v. Chargers have given us some real gems over the years. But with the Raiders seeming to be on the verge of a real resurgence, and the window on the Chargers possibly starting to close, this one is going to have some added layers of excitement and drama.

It will be a real dogfight, but the Raiders have the pieces in place to pull off the upset and walk away with a win. Here’s how they can do it…

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