Week 1: Oakland Raiders Vs. San Diego Chargers

(Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
(Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
(Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images)
(Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Winner Philip Rivers remains an upper-echelon quarterback in the NFL, ranking somewhere in the top 10 but he is not as good as Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers or former San Diego quarterback Drew Brees. Rivers does not have text book form, but he has a strong enough arm and leadership skills.
The Raiders are counting on Carson Palmer to help them turn their situation around. He has solid measurables, including good arm strength, a relatively quick release and awareness in the pocket. However, his teams rarely win.
Winner The Chargers have plenty of weapons on the offensive side, including versatile running back Ronnie Brown. Wide receivers Malcolm Floyd and Robert Meachem have the kind of big-play ability that make this unit dangerous.
Darren McFadden has the kind of speed and explosiveness to take the Raiders offense to a new level as a running back, but can he stay healthy for a full season. Darrius Heyward-Bey is a burner at wide receiver and he caught 64 passes last year, but he only had four touchdowns.
The Chargers once again threw their hands in the air after last season and brought in their third defensive coordinator in as many years in John Pagano. The Chargers couldn’t stop anyone on third downs, ranking 32nd in first-down conversions allowed. Free safety Eric Weddle had 11 interceptions last year and has excellent awareness.
Winner New head coach Dennis Allen has brought in newcomer Jason Tarver to run the defense and the Raiders may employ a 3-4 in addition to their standard 4-3. That does not usually work. Defensive tackle Richard Seymour is still a monster to block.
Special Teams
Nate Kaeding has been a dependable kicker for years, but he tore his ACL in the first game of the season and missed the 2011 season. He returns this year. Punter Mike Scifres excels at killing the ball inside the 10-yard line.
Winner While the Raiders have not been a force in the NFL for many years, the placekicker/punter combination of Sebastian Janikowski and Shane Lechler is the best in the NFL. Jacoby Ford is a dynamic kick returner.

We'll Just Call it a Tie

(Credit: Donald Miralle/Getty Images) (Credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

While this matchup appears fairly even, the Chargers’ edge at the quarterback position and on the offensive side of the ball should be too much to overcome. If the defense can make some improvement, they appear to be an AFC West contender. The Chargers have the edge in this game.


  1. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Sam Bradford #8 of the Minnesota Vikings throws a pass in the first quarter against Brandon Graham #55 of the Philadelphia Eagles at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Eagles defeated the Vikings 21-10. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) GREENBAY, WI - OCTOBER 20: Running back Jordan Howard #24 of the Chicago Bears is tackled by nose tackle Kenny Clark #97 and cornerback Demetri Goodson #39 of the Green Bay Packers in the second quarter at Lambeau Field on October 20, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)
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  2. PHILADELPHIA, PA - OCTOBER 23: Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles avoids Everson Griffen #97 of the Minnesota Vikings as he runs for a first down during the second quarter of a game at Lincoln Financial Field on October 23, 2016 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) GREEN BAY, WI - OCTOBER 16: Dak Prescott #4 of the Dallas Cowboys looks to pass against the Green Bay Packers during the third quarter at Lambeau Field on October 16, 2016 in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Dallas Cowboys defeated the Green Bay Packers 30-16.  (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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  3. GLENDALE, AZ - OCTOBER 23:  Running back David Johnson #31 of the Arizona Cardinals rushes the football during the NFL game against the Seattle Seahawks at the University of Phoenix Stadium on October 23, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. The Cardinals and Seahawks tied 6-6.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) NEW ORLEANS, LA - OCTOBER 16: Cam Newton #1 of the Carolina Panthers scrambles out of the pocked during the first half of a game against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome on October 16, 2016 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
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