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Three questions for Raiders vs. Chargers

Raiders try to salvage season at Coliseum

John Dickinson
October 14, 2017 - 3:22 pm

How effective can Derek Carr be in his return?  Will the Raiders be able to protect him?

The Raiders offense desperately needs Derek Carr back and playing at a high level if they’re going to turn their season around. The Raiders averaged 35.5 points with 0 turnovers in their two wins while dipping to just 12.3 points per game with 5 turnovers in their losses.

With Derek Carr playing through a back injury, protecting the QB will be paramount against Chargers pass rushers Joey Boss and Melvin Ingram who have combined for 12 sacks in the Chargers first 5 games.

Will the Raiders be able to run the football? Can they grab an interception?

The Chargers are last in the NFL in run defense allowing 161.2 yards per game including a whopping 5 yards per attempt. The Raiders can take heat off of Derek Carr and keep Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram away but getting back to bullying teams with their offensive lines.

On defense the Raiders have yet to force an interception in in 2017. Philip Rivers throws a couple up for grabs every game regardless of the defense he’s facing. Will the Raiders be able to take advantage and catch those balls that would become momentum-changing plays?

Can the Raiders handle the pressure of a must win game in October?

Make no mistake, the Raiders are facing a must win game in October. They already trail the Chiefs by three games in the AFC West and are also looking up at the Broncos who have a 1.5 game lead over them for second place in the division. The Raiders are in a pool of five teams in the AFC that all sit at 2-3 with six more at 3-2. There’s still time for Oakland to get things right and make a playoff run but it has to start against the Chargers.

A win and they’re right back to .500 with the Chiefs coming in on a short week. A loss and they’re in last place in the division and suddenly among the worst seven or eight teams in the NFL and the Chiefs could effectively force them to run the table or finish 9-1 to have a shot at the playoffs if they beat them on Thursday as well.

This is the biggest October game in Derek Carr’s career to date and the biggest game in Jack Del Rio’s tenure as Raiders head coach.

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