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Raiders vs. Chargers Preview: Quarterback to Wide Receiver Connections are Crucial

On Thursday night the Oakland Raiders will take on the San Diego Chargers, for the third straight game missing their star running back, Darren McFadden. He is not healing properly and is likely out for a while. Michael Bush is a capable backup running back, but lacks McFadden's elite speed and elusiveness. What this means for the Raiders is that Carson Palmer is going to have to become the be all, end all of the offense.

Palmer showed flashes of what he can do against the Broncos, throwing for well over 300 yards, but he again threw three interceptions. INTs were not a problem when Jason Campbell was throwing twenty times a game due to McFadden's success, but with Palmer needing to throw twice that many passes he will need to cut down on mistakes.

The primary recipients of Palmer's throws so far have been Jacoby Ford and Denarius Moore. Darrius Heyward-Bey has not been a primary target thus far, but with his elite speed and talent I suspect that can change at any time. With Palmer at the helm, Ford turns into one of the more reliable WRs in the AFC and an excellent starter in any fantasy league.

As for the Chargers, Philip Rivers has been erratic at best but he still puts up huge numbers because the Chargers pass constantly. Antonio Gates is an excellent tight end but at this point their passing game begins and ends with Vincent Jackson. He caught three touchdowns against the Packers, and has the size and speed to make all the catches. He has terrific hands and is a perfect target for Rivers. There isn't a corner in the league outside of Nnamdi Asomugha who can cover him one on one. I expect these two to hook up early and often against the Raiders, and it remains to be seen whether the Raiders can score enough to keep up.