Oakland Raiders: Keys To Victory Over San Diego Chargers

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Oct 11, 2015; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders running back Latavius Murray (28) carries the ball against the Denver Broncos at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Ground And Pound

To this point in the season, the Raiders haven’t been overly effective when it comes to running the ball. While not nearly as bad as the incredibly terrible running game the Raiders threw out onto the field last season, it also hasn’t been nearly as effective as we’d all hoped so far this season.

Latavius Murray is a big upgrade over Darren McFadden and Maurice Jones-Drew, but thus far, he’s seen limited touches. When he’s been able to hold on to the ball, he’s been effective running it. He has an average of 4.2 yards per carry (336 yards on 80 carries) which isn’t bad. It’ll get the job done. But there is also a lot of room for this Oakland running game to get a whole lot better.

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The Raiders have one of the best pass blocking lines in the NFL. Unfortunately, when it comes to run blocking, they’ve been a little less effective this season. Rarely do the backs test the edges, and most of Oakland’s rushing attempts basically go straight up the gut – which seems to indicate that OC Bill Musgrave doesn’t have a whole lot of confidence that the line can set that edge and get the running backs around that corner.

Averaging just 90 yards a game, the Raiders rank twenty seventh in the NFL – that’s only slightly better than last season’s performance and Oakland’s personnel is far better this year. They have the personnel to establish a solid run game, but thus far, it’s seemed like they’ve been reluctant to use them to the fullest.

Oakland can give themselves a real boost of confidence against the Chargers on Sunday. San Diego comes into the game giving up 132.5 yards per game – checking them in at number twenty nine in the league against the run.

To win this game, the Raiders need to put a huge load on the backs of Murray, Roy Helu, and Taiwan Jones – and they of course, must perform. If Oakland can run the ball, eat up the clock, dictate the pace of the game, and keep Rivers and company off the field, the Raiders stand a very good chance of claiming a win.

Next: Limiting the Damage