Chargers Visit Raiders on Monday Night Football


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Photo by: Ric Tapia/Icon SMI

For the second time in four years, the Chargers will start their regular season in Oakland, facing the Raiders and playing in the late game on Monday Night Football. In previous seasons throughout the Norv Turner era, they’ve started very slowly and with the head coach and general manager on the proverbial hot seat, a fast start is necessary.

The San Diego Chargers are a one-point favorite on the NFL odds as most people still believe in this team even though they are merely 17-15 over the last two seasons. The talent appears to be in place but they’ve consistently underachieved.

Even though the Chargers have won 13 of their last 20 trips to Oakland, the Raiders have been a thorn in the Chargers side recently as they’ve won three of the last four meetings overall. The games have been won on the line of scrimmage as the Chargers offensive line has declined in recent seasons while the Raiders front four has improved. That offensive line will be a chief concern all season long and it already appears to be an issue.

The Chargers starting left tackle Jared Gaither (back) isn’t practicing right now and there is no timetable for his return. On top of that, center Nick Hardwick missed the team’s final preseason game while recovering from a concussion and although he has returned to practice, concussions can be dicey. The Chargers will also be without starting running back Ryan Mathews for the opener.

As for the Raiders defensive line, Richard Seymour and Tommy Kelly are a handful on the interior, so the Chargers will have to hope their units hold up.

In previous years, the Chargers would have been expected to beat the Raiders but now it’s a coin flip. There’s no question that the Chargers are still significantly more talented than Oakland but San Diego just hasn’t played to their potential in the Turner era. However, maybe being humbled a little bit and not having the spotlight on them to win the AFC West will wake them up. We’ll find out right off the bat in Week 1.

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