Chargers Powering Up
After losing four games in this series as coach of the Raiders, Turner is now leading the Chargers as they look to extend a seven-game winning streak over their AFC West rivals on Sunday.
Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made San Diego -10 point spread favorites (View NFL Football odds) for Sunday's game, the over/under has been set at 44 total points (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 53% of bets for this game have been placed on Oakland +10 (View NFL Football bet percentages).
Turner coached Oakland from 2004-05, compiling a 9-23 record that included losses in each of his four contests against San Diego (2-3). Those games extended the Chargers' winning streak in the series to five games, then they swept the Raiders (2-2) last season by a combined score of 48-14.
Turner was San Francisco's offensive coordinator last year, then was hired to replace Marty Schottenheimer as San Diego's coach during the offseason. After going 14-2 under Schottenheimer last season, the Chargers lost three of their first four games under Turner, but are coming off a dominant performance that has given them some much-needed confidence.
San Diego finally got its offense going last Sunday, amassing 484 yards in a 41-3 road win over Denver.
"I think more than anything it's just I think we felt like we're starting to find ourselves, this team," Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson said. "That game proved kind of what we do well and I think we kind of found what we can do if we play like that."
Tomlinson had 140 yards, including 73 on three receptions, and backup Michael Turner added a career-high 147 yards on 10 carries against the Broncos. Tomlinson has 294 yards of total offense in his last two games after being held to 229 in his previous three.
In 12 games against Oakland, Tomlinson has rushed for 1,455 yards and 12 touchdowns. He also has attempted one pass in each of the last four years against the Raiders, completing three for touchdowns.
Tomlinson and the Chargers running game were complemented nicely last Sunday by some outstanding play from Philip Rivers. A week after committing three turnovers, Rivers played more like the Pro Bowl quarterback he was last year, throwing for 270 yards and two touchdowns on 13-of-18 passing for a nearly perfect quarterback rating of 151.4.
Rivers had no interceptions and was not sacked after throwing six interceptions and being sacked nine times through the first four games.
The Chargers, however, know there's plenty of room for improvement, and can't afford a letdown against a Raiders team that has won two straight to grab the AFC West lead for the first time since winning the division in 2002 en route to the Super Bowl.
"I don't want us to get all happy and start patting ourselves on the back after one win," Tomlinson said. "It's a long season and we definitely need to make sure that we stay focused on continuing to build on this. No doubt getting that win in Denver was big for us, but now we have to turn our attention to Oakland."
The Raiders, coming off a bye, will start Daunte Culpepper at quarterback for the second straight game. He took the place of the injured Josh McCown (toe) against Miami on Sept. 30, throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for three to lead Oakland to a 35-17 win.
Culpepper's two TD throws against the Dolphins were to Jerry Porter, who has made four of his seven catches since Culpepper took over.
"He's coming along," said Porter, who has gotten little playing time over the past two years after flourishing under Turner. "He can play. He's getting a chance to get out there."
In his last full season, Culpepper averaged more than 34 attempts per game for Minnesota in 2004, but he won't be expected to carry the load nearly as much this season. The Raiders lead the NFL with 194.2 rushing yards per game, more than double their average last season, thanks in part to an offensive line which has shown significant improvement.
Oakland, however, is still facing questions at running back, with LaMont Jordan nursing a sore back suffered late in the first half against Miami. Justin Fargas filled in and ran for a career-high 179 yards in the second half.
Offseason acquisition Dominic Rhodes, meanwhile, is back from his four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.
In the last meeting between the teams, Tomlinson passed for a touchdown and rushed for 109 yards and two scores as the Chargers beat the Raiders 21-14 on Nov. 26.
By: Staff Writers - theSpread.com - Email Us
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