By Danny Cox
In the opening game of the 2012 NFL season, the San Diego Chargers looked rather strong in defeating the Oakland Raiders 22-14. On Sunday, the Bolts hope to finish out the season with the same result as the Oakland Raiders are their final opponent of the season as well.
Another positive note is that a victory on Sunday would give the Chargers back-to-back wins and three wins in their last four games. Of course, San Diego would rather be heading to the playoffs, but a two-game winning streak that includes victories over the Jets and Chargers is not a bad way to finish things off.
The Raiders are bitter and hated rivals of the Chargers, and now they will be playing in front of their San Diego home crowd in Qualcomm Stadium. While the game may seem meaningless as far as the playoffs and records are concerned; it is not just a “nothing game” to the Chargers.
“We’re in the same division and we’re located rather closely to one another,” said Philip Rivers. “It goes back a long time. I know the fans and the state of California get fired up about it. And it just so happens it’s the last game of the year this year, and it was last year too. But I remember in high school the last game of the year was always a rivalry game. You could be 1-9 playing an 0-10 (team), and it was exciting. Obviously the case with these two teams, we’ve both had seasons we didn;t anticipate, but it’s a game both teams will be ready to go.”
Sunday’s game is the 107th meeting between the two teams with Oakland leading the series 58-46-2. That record looks harsh, but it really isn’t considering how things have gone recently between the two.
San Diego has won the last two and 15 of the last 18 against the Raiders. That record includes 13-straight victories over Oakland from 2003 to 2009. No matter how little may ride on this game in the eyes of some, there is so much more to play for in the eyes of those that will be on the field.
Linebacker Takeo Spikes could very well be considered a journeyman throughout his 15 years in the NFL. He has played for numerous teams and seen all kinds of team battles, but he says there is nothing like the rivalry between his Chargers and the Raiders.
“It’s personal,” said the veteran linebacker. “I’ve learned that. It’s one thing to hear about it but (another) to actually see it and play in the games…It’s a personal deal.”
The Chargers have recently gotten back a number of players from injury and saw then return to game-time action last week in the victory over the New York Jets. They’ll be back on the field this week, and San Diego wants nothing more than to have those players bring them a victory to close out the season.
There has been little practice so far this week as the Christmas holiday has kept many players at home. Things are going to kick into high gear on Thursday though, and the Chargers are going to prepare as much as possible to defeat their rivals, the Raiders, on Sunday afternoon.
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Danny Cox knows a little something about the NFL, whether it means letting you know what penalty will come from the flag just thrown on the field or quickly spouting off who the Chicago Bears drafted in the first round of the 1987 draft (Jim Harbaugh). He plans on bringing you the best news, previews, recaps, and anything else that may come along with the exciting world of the National Football League. His work can be found on Examiner.com.