Oakland Raiders v. Los Angeles Chargers live game day open thread

SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 18: Bruce Irvin
SAN DIEGO, CA - DECEMBER 18: Bruce Irvin /

The Oakland Raiders travel south to take on their division rivals, the LA Chargers – this is your place to discuss the game and all things Raiders football.

The Oakland Raiders finally got things moving in the right direction last week, scoring a season-high 45 points, and claiming their first win of 2018, to pull their record up to (a still abysmal) 1-3.

For the first time this season, the Raiders didn’t suffer a second half meltdown, instead, rallying together, and overcoming deficits again and again – a 14-point hole at one time during the third quarter. Time and again, when the Raiders needed a big play to stay in it, Derek Carr was able to deliver, throwing several clutch passes on his way to four-touchdown performance.

It was a gritty, gutty, up and down performance, to say the least. Could it be a portent of better things to come?

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Perhaps. Or, it could be an anomaly. You just never know what you’re going to get yet, with this mystery meat version of the 2018 Raiders. Hopefully, they can begin building on the good things they did against Cleveland, and start building some momentum.

Hopefully, momentum enough to dig themselves out of their 1-3 hole.

There are plenty of challenges facing this team though. What should have fans – and Derek Carr – worried, is that with Donald Penn landing on the IR, the Raiders will be starting two rookies at the tackle spot – Kolton Miller on the left, Brandon Parker on the right.

While Miller has held his own pretty well so far this season, Parker is wholly untested, and we don’t know what the team has in him just yet. If he can’t do the job, Carr and the offense are going to be in a whole world of hurt – perhaps, even physically.

Then there’s the defense’s penchant for giving up huge plays. Last week, Browns rookie Nick Chubb erupted for 105 rushing yards and two touchdowns – on just thee carries. Chubb notched a 63-yard scoring gallop, and added a 41-yarder just for good measure.

Think the game might have played out a little differently had those 14 points never gone up on the board? Perhaps.

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Oakland’s offense is ranked second overall in the entire league. It’s clear that Gruden’s influence and system is having a positive impact. However, their scoring offense is only ranked fourteenth – and took a healthy jump to that spot, after their scoring orgy against the Browns.

This team very well could be on the verge of turning the corner and breaking out. But, they could also very well be on the verge of pulling a Lucy Van Pelt, and pulling the football away, just as we’re about to buy in and kick it.

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That’s the maddening thing about these Raiders – they have long stretches where they look unbeatable, and you begin to think they hey, maybe they’re on to something. And then, they follow that up with long stretches where you wonder how they are considered an NFL-caliber team.

The surest way to the playoffs is to win your division, and with one loss to the Broncos – and Kansas City’s scorching unbeaten start – Oakland’s best bet, if they still have designs on a postseason invite, is probably a wild card.

However, with two games against Kansas City still ahead, it’s incumbent upon this Raiders squad to not only start stringing some wins together, but to start winning some division games. And that starts today.

The Chargers have weaknesses in a secondary ravaged by injury (again). And they’re missing their top defensive player in Joey Bosa. Those are advantages this Raiders team absolutely needs to exploit – along with playing sound, fundamental football, of course.

It should be a nice day in Los Angeles, with highs in the 70’s, and sunshine. It’s a good day for football, and a good day for the Raiders to get a win.

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What are your biggest storylines coming out of the week? How do you see this game playing out? Will the Raiders be able to build on last week’s momentum? Or will Philip Rivers and his array of offensive weapons be able to doom the Raiders to yet another loss? Who is going to win the game?

This is your virtual soapbox to discuss the game, and all things Raiders football. So, step on up, speakout, and make your voices heard!