The Los Angeles Chargers need to defeat the visiting Oakland Raiders on Sunday and also receive a lot of help if they want to claim an AFC wild-card spot. The Chargers rebounded from an 0-4 start to remain alive in Week 17 as they seek their first playoff appearance since 2013.
In addition to beating Oakland, the Chargers need Jacksonville to defeat Tennessee and have either Baltimore beat Cincinnati or Miami knock off Buffalo to land a berth. “The one common denominator is us winning. I can’t find one yet where we can lose and still make it,” quarterback Philip Rivers said at a press conference. “So we’ve got to take care of our business. Obviously, we’re all playing at the same time. We can only control what we can control.” While Los Angeles has a lot for which to play, the Raiders are wrapping up a highly disappointing campaign and looking to end a three-game losing streak. “My mindset is to prepare like I always do and just go lay it all out there like I always try to,” Oakland quarterback Derek Carr told reporters. “I‘m pumped up to play against a division rival. They have a lot that they’re playing for and we want to go in there and finish the season with a win.”
TV: 4:25 p.m. ET, CBS. LINE: Chargers -8. O/U: 42
ABOUT THE RAIDERS (6-9): Carr (3,253 yards, 21 touchdowns) has topped 3,000 yards in all four of his NFL seasons, but this year’s output was a step back from his stellar 2016 campaign in which he threw for 3,937 yards with 28 touchdowns and just six interceptions - half of this season’s total of 12. Turnovers have been a constant problem - the Raiders are 29th in margin at minus-12 - and offensive coordinator Todd Downing accepted responsibility for the drop from sixth in total offense last season to tied for 19th this year. Star pass rusher Khalil Mack has 10.5 sacks, giving him 36.5 over the last three seasons.
ABOUT THE CHARGERS (8-7): Rivers has passed for 4,128 yards with 25 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in a standout campaign and needs just 39 yards to become the ninth player in NFL history to reach 50,000 for his career. Receiver Keenan Allen (93 catches, 1,260 yards) also is chasing a milestone as eight receptions will allow him to break LaDainian Tomlinson’s mark of 100 in 2003 for most in a season in franchise history. The Chargers (plus-10) rank fifth in the takeaway category behind an opportunistic defense led by pass rushers Joey Bosa (11.5 sacks) and Melvin Ingram (10) and cornerback Casey Hayward (four interceptions).
1. The Chargers posted a 17-16 win over Oakland on Oct. 15 to halt a four-game slide in the all-time series.
2. The Raiders are tied for last in the league with five interceptions as CB Sean Smith is the team leader with two.
3. Los Angeles RB Melvin Gordon (1,012 rushing yards) is expected to play despite suffering a sprained left ankle in last Sunday’s win over the New York Jets.
PREDICTION: Chargers 30, Raiders 24