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Chargers Cling To Life, Host Raiders Next

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By Dave Thomas

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 8: Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Oakland Raiders plays against the New York Jets during their game at MetLife Stadium on December 8, 2013 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

(Credit, Jeff Zelevansky/Getty Images)

For the San Diego Chargers, kicking back this past Sunday to watch some football was not as relaxing as they might have hoped.

Needing both Miami and Baltimore to lose on Sunday and Monday night, the first half of the equation did not go the Chargers way Sunday. Miami rallied for a 24-20 home win over Tom Brady and New England, moving the Dolphins up into the sixth and final seed for the AFC playoffs at 8-6. Depending on how the Ravens (7-6) do Monday evening in Detroit, that current scenario could change.

Meantime, San Diego sits on the outside looking in to begin the week, needing both Miami and Baltimore to go on a losing streak over the last few weeks of the regular season while taking care of their own business at home against Oakland and Kansas City, respectively, the next two Sundays.

Raiders Left in Black Hole by Chiefs

In an AFC West rivalry this past Sunday, Oakland (4-10) was hammered by the Kansas City Chiefs at home 56-31. With the win, the Chiefs swept the season series from their hated rivals. The victory also allowed Kansas City (11-3) to clinch an AFC playoff berth while still keeping it in contention for the division crown, should Denver slip up over the final two weeks and the Chiefs win out against Indianapolis (home) and at San Diego.

As the old cliche goes, all the Chargers can do at this point is take care of their own business, hoping both Miami and Baltimore stumble down the stretch.

First up is a visit this Sunday from the hated Raiders. In their first meeting back in September, the Raiders prevailed in the Bay Area by a 27-17 score.

Since that game, the Raiders have alternated Terrelle Pryor and Matt McGloin at the quarterback position. After falling behind early this past Sunday to the Chiefs, McGloin rallied the Raiders to within 35-31, only to see the Chiefs score 21 unanswered points.

For Oakland, this has been yet another season of disappointment.

Once one of the NFL’s elite franchises, over the last decade the Raiders have been a far cry from the team that made it to the Jan. 26, 2003 Super Bowl against Tampa Bay, albeit a 48-21 loss. Although Oakland has been competitive in a number of losses this season, the bottom line is that the wins have been few and far between.

Coming into their meeting with the Chargers this Sunday, the Raiders are looking to finish strong in the last two weeks (host Denver Dec. 29) and build for next season.

Pryor leads the Oakland passing attack with 1,591 yards and five TDs, while McGloin has accounted for 1,341 yards passing and eight touchdowns.

One of the stumbling blocks for the Raiders this season has been their rushing attack, as Darren McFadden has been injured for a sizable portion of the season, accounting for only 365 yards on the ground. Rashad Jennings leads the way with 679, while Pryor has tallied 527 yards carrying the pigskin.

On the receiving side, Rod Streater has 846 yards receiving and three TDs, while Denarius Moore has hauled in five touchdowns and 615 receiving yards.

Defensively, Oakland is led by linebacker Nick Roach (100 total tackles, 5.5 sacks).

As for the all-time series, Oakland holds a 58-47-2 advantage.

Chargers Playoff Update:

• Would be eliminated with a loss to the Raiders or Dolphins win at the Bills or a pair of Ravens wins.
• Would clinch a playoff berth with a pair of wins and two Dolphins losses and two Ravens losses.

For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.

Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.

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