Raiders at Bolts Preview
Coming off perhaps their most dominant effort of the season, the Chargers look to win their 13th straight over the Raiders as the AFC West rivals meet Sunday.
Oddsmakers from online sports book Sportsbook.com have made the Chargers –16.5 point spread favorites (View NFL odds) for Sunday’s game (Game Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 70% of bets for this game have been placed on the Chargers –16.5 (View NFL bet percentages).
San Diego (3-3) hasn't lost to Oakland (2-5) since a 34-31 road defeat Sept. 28, 2003, averaging 28.2 points during the run. The win streak, however, was in danger of ending before Darren Sproles scored the winning touchdown on a 5-yard run with 18 seconds left in a season-opening 24-20 victory Sept. 14.
San Diego lost three of its next four during a stretch against tough opponents, but bounced back with a 37-7 win at Kansas City last Sunday. Coach Norv Turner and quarterback Philip Rivers said it was the team's most complete game of the season.
"Individuals have to keep getting better and we have to collectively keep getting better as we zero in on what we have to do to prepare and play well against the Raiders," Turner told the Chargers' official Web site.
Rivers threw three touchdown passes last week, giving him seven in his last three games.
Against the Raiders, he answered a pair of go-ahead Oakland scores with a TD drive each time.
LaDainian Tomlinson rolled his ankle in that game, causing him to miss the next two. Tomlinson and San Diego's running game have struggled this season, as he rushed for a season-high 71 yards versus the Chiefs.
Tomlinson's 36-yard run on the Chargers' first touchdown drive was his longest since a 45-yarder against Denver on Dec. 28. The Chargers had 135 rushing yards after averaging 57.6 in their first five contests.
Despite their struggles on the ground, San Diego has had little trouble scoring this season, averaging 26.8 points. The Chargers' defense, however, had given up an average of 27.2 points before holding the Chiefs to 203 yards.
Oakland has been terrible offensively of late. The Raiders lost 38-0 at home to the New York Jets last Sunday and have been held to less than eight points in four of their last five games.
JaMarcus Russell fumbled to set up a Jets score and threw two interceptions before being pulled in favor of Bruce Gradkowski.
Russell finished 6 of 11 for 61 yards as Oakland was shut out for the first time since a 24-0 loss to Atlanta last Nov. 2. Coach Tom Cable, though, said Russell will remain the starter.
"Hopefully it will fire him up so then it doesn't happen again, that he'll work that much harder and really put in all the effort that he can to make sure that doesn't happen again," Oakland tight end Zach Miller said. "Any competitor should want that to never happen. I would never want to be benched. I don't think he would either."
One of Russell's two TD passes this season came against San Diego, a 57-yard throw to rookie Louis Murphy to give Oakland a 20-17 lead with 2:34 left.
Russell, the No. 1 overall pick in 2007, has regressed after showing some positive signs late last season. He has completed 46.3 percent of his passes while throwing eight interceptions and losing five fumbles. His 47.2 passer rating is ahead of only Cleveland's Derek Anderson.
"It's just something that you have to have a little bit better control," Cable said. "It's not something that you like to do, in terms of pulling him and all that. I've been pretty strong against it. I want to push him to give him every opportunity to succeed."
Posted: 10/28/09 3:50PM ET