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Matchups To Watch

The San Diego Chargers are the first team in 23 years to be ranked first in yardage on offense and defense as late as Week Four. This being said, most matchups on paper will look to favor them.

The biggest advantage for the Chargers:

Chargers Pass Rush vs Raiders Offensive Line.
The Chargers ramped up their season sacks total from six to 15 last week after punishing the Cardinals for nine of them. Leading the way is OLB and reigning AFC Defensive Player of the Week, Shaun Phillips.

Phillips had four last week and six on the season. The only other Charger with more than one sack is ILB Kevin Burnett. He has two, both of which came last week.

The Chargers are second in the league with a 10.6 percent adjusted sack rate (this stat is simply percent of pass plays the team gets a sack).

Oakland currently ranks 25th is adjusted sacks allowed rate. The struggling Raiders Tackles are going to have to slow down the speedy OLBs if they want to get their passing game moving.

The Biggest Advantage for the Raiders

Raiders Backs and TEs Receiving vs Chargers Pass D

The Chargers are giving up 10.7 yards per completion to RBs and TEs. 41 percent of the completions and 43 percent of the yards they have allowed through the air have been to RBs and TEs.

On the season the Raiders are averaging 10.4 yards per completion to RBs and TEs. 61 percent of their completions and 54 percent of their yards have come via these guys.

The Raiders showed last week, they can really move the chains throwing almost exclusively to their backs and Zach Miller. A couple of well timed screen passes to RB Michael Bush or FB Marcel Reece could do some real damage and limit the tenacity of the Chargers pass rush.

Matchup of the Game

Raiders Secondary vs Chargers Passing Attack

Philip Rivers is as good as anyone at going through his progressions and he has been spreading the ball around his WRs wonderfully. Still, the Chargers passing game starts and ends with Gates.

The Raiders are uniquely equipped to deal with Gates. They can and have had Nnamdi Asomugha cover him. Also, Tyvon Branch has shown the ability to slow Gates down. Branch is one of the few guys with size and speed to actually hang with Gates.

Last week’s Cardinal game was the first week the Chargers haven’t had a WR with a catch of at least 49 yards and each week it has been someone different. Expect the Chargers to spread the field and test Nickel corner, Chris Johnson at some point.

The thing that will be exceptionally interesting to watch is that Rivers is about the only QB that is not afraid to throw to Asomugha’s side. Asomugha has only allowed two catches this year and appears to be playing as good as ever.