NFL

more stats

Chargers try to stay alive, host Raiders

(SportsNetwork.com) - The odds remain long but the San Diego Chargers are still playing meaningful football deep into December under first-year head coach Mike McCoy and revitalized quarterback Philip Rivers.

The same can't be said for the Oakland Raiders, who are enduring their 11th straight season playing .500 football or worse.

Oakland hasn't had a winning campaign since finishing 11-5 in 2002 en route to losing Super Bowl XXXVII to Tampa Bay. In the ensuing 11 campaigns the Raiders are a combined 53-121, topping out with 8-8 records in both 2010 and 2011, with seven different head coaches. The latest Oakland mentor is Dennis Allen, who is 8-22 since taking over the program in 2012.

Allen got the Raiders gig largely off his performance as Denver's defensive coordinator in 2011. McCoy, of course, was the Broncos' offensive coordinator at the same time so the two mentors know each other quite well and Allen got the best of his friend in Oakland back on Oct. 6, a loss that weighs heavily on the Chargers, who enter Week 16 a game behind both Baltimore and Miami in the race for the final playoff spot in the AFC.

San Diego stayed alive last week with its most impressive performance of the season, a 27-20 win over Denver in the Rockies. Ryan Mathews ran for 127 yards and a touchdown and Rivers tossed a pair of scores to rookie star Keenan Allen in that one.

The Chargers, who snapped Denver's 10-game AFC West winning steak, held the ball for nearly 39 minutes and converted 6-of-12 third downs.

"Time of possession is only important if you're scoring," said Rivers, who became just the sixth player in NFL history to register five different 4,000- yard passing seasons, bringing his 2013 total to 4,048.

Denver tallied 127 yards on its first two drives of the game, but totaled just 168 yards the rest of the way. The Broncos' 295 total yards and 20 points were a season low.

"The longer you keep the ball and the less he (Manning) has it, the better off you're going to be," McCoy said.

The Raiders, meanwhile, are coming off an embarrassing effort during a 56-31 loss to Kansas City. The Chiefs' Jamaal Charles racked up 195 receiving yards and five total touchdowns in a record-setting performance in that one as Kansas City secured a spot in the AFC Playoffs.

Kansas City also received big games out of quarterback Alex Smith and its opportunistic defense en route to sewing up the postseason berth just one year after tying for the league's worst record at 2-14.

Smith threw five touchdown passes in all while completing a sharp 17-of-20 throws for 287 yards, while the Chiefs forced seven turnovers in posting their second straight lopsided victory on the road.

Rashad Jennings had a pair of rushing touchdowns while gaining 91 yards on a season-high 23 carries for Oakland (4-10), which was dealt a fourth consecutive loss. McGloin finished with 297 yards and two touchdowns on an 18- of-36 completion rate.

"Hopefully those guys can learn from those mistakes," said Allen. "Its tough when you're going through a learning process. As the losses mount up, it gets frustrating. It gets frustrating for everybody, but we've got a job to do. We've got to go out there and try to win football games."

Oakland leads the all-time series 58-47-2 but the Chargers have won eight of the past 10 contests in San Diego.

WHAT TO WATCH FOR

To reach the playoffs San Diego needs to win out and hope both Miami and Baltimore each lose its final two games meaning the Chargers three-year postseason drought will more than likely continue.

One of the main reasons they are in such a precarious position was the 27-17 loss suffered in Oakland back in October when the Raiders' defense picked off Rivers three times and forced a pair of fumbles.

"We can lament and kick ourselves for those losses or we can worry about what we can control and that's two games left in the season," Chargers star safety Eric Weddle said.

That's the way you have to approach things. Take care of your own business first and hope the other chips fall in your direction.

Since that game against Oakland Rivers has rebounded to throw 15 touchdowns against just four interceptions in the ensuing nine games. He has generally been solid all year but San Diego's much-maligned defense also came up big in Denver, holding the NFL's most powerful offense to season lows in points (20), rushing yards (a dismal 18) and passing yards (295).

The unit is in a good position to carry that over this week against a team which isn't exactly bursting with playmakers. McGloin had a career-high four interceptions last week and has eight total over his past four games.

The Raiders have also been using Terrelle Pryor as a change of pace at quarterback but he has been even more careless with the football than McGloin.

'We're getting used to it," said McGloin when asked about the back and forth at QB. "We do it throughout practice and throughout the course of the week. The coaches are doing what they feel puts us in the best position to win."

McGloin's biggest threats are Jennings, who is averaging 89.8 rushing yards with six TDs over his past six games, along with receivers Rod Streater, who is 154 yards away from becoming the first Oakland wideout with 1,000 since Randy Moss in 2005, and Andre Holmes, who has caught 14 balls for 257 yards over his past three encounters.

McGloin himself has amassed a solid 90.7 passer rating in his three career road starts.

The Oakland D has faltered mightily recently, surrendering nearly 35 points per game over the past seven weeks, worst in the NFL over that span. The group has also allowed almost 120 yards on the ground per game during its current losing streak and has really had trouble in space as evidenced by Charles' effort last week.

Conversely Mathews has been red-hot of late, amassing 230 rushing yards over his past two contests. He now needs just 80 more yards to set a new career- high (1,091 in 2011).

"We've got to do a great job of tackling in space," Allen said. "That's an area that we've got to work to improve on, because we can't let screens behind the line of scrimmage go for big gains like that."

OVERALL ANALYSIS

Rivers is an impressive 28-6 as a starter in December, throwing 62 TDs and just 17 picks in those games. He'll likely continue to improve on those numbers against the moribund Raiders but the pot at the end of this rainbow isn't going to be the postseason.

"We always seem to make it interesting," Rivers said. "We are a .500 ball club that's going to fight like crazy to get the next two."

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Chargers 34, Raiders 14

12/20 10:38:01 ET

Other Stories

Schedule

Full Scoreboard
No games this week
Full Scoreboard

Standings

 2013 American Football Conference Standings 
East Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-New England 12 4 0 .750 444 338 8-0 4-4 4-2 9-3
NY Jets 8 8 0 .500 290 387 6-2 2-6 3-3 5-7
Miami 8 8 0 .500 317 335 4-4 4-4 2-4 7-5
Buffalo 6 10 0 .375 339 388 4-4 2-6 3-3 5-7
 
North Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Cincinnati 11 5 0 .688 430 305 8-0 3-5 3-3 8-4
Pittsburgh 8 8 0 .500 379 370 5-3 3-5 4-2 6-6
Baltimore 8 8 0 .500 320 352 6-2 2-6 3-3 6-6
Cleveland 4 12 0 .250 308 406 3-5 1-7 2-4 3-9
 
South Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Indianapolis 11 5 0 .688 391 336 6-2 5-3 6-0 9-3
Tennessee 7 9 0 .438 362 381 3-5 4-4 2-4 6-6
Jacksonville 4 12 0 .250 247 449 1-7 3-5 3-3 4-8
Houston 2 14 0 .125 276 428 1-7 1-7 1-5 2-10
 
West Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Denver 13 3 0 .813 606 399 7-1 6-2 5-1 9-3
x-Kansas City 11 5 0 .688 430 305 5-3 6-2 2-4 7-5
x-San Diego 9 7 0 .563 396 348 5-3 4-4 4-2 6-6
Oakland 4 12 0 .250 322 453 3-5 1-7 1-5 4-8
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
 2013 National Football Conference Standings 
East Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Philadelphia 10 6 0 .625 442 382 4-4 6-2 4-2 9-3
Dallas 8 8 0 .500 439 432 5-3 3-5 5-1 7-5
NY Giants 7 9 0 .438 294 383 4-4 3-5 3-3 6-6
Washington 3 13 0 .188 334 478 2-6 1-7 0-6 1-11
 
North Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Green Bay 8 7 1 .531 417 428 4-3-1 4-4 3-2-1 6-5-1
Chicago 8 8 0 .500 445 478 5-3 3-5 2-4 4-8
Detroit 7 9 0 .438 395 376 4-4 3-5 4-2 6-6
Minnesota 5 10 1 .344 391 480 5-3 0-7-1 2-3-1 4-7-1
 
South Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Carolina 12 4 0 .750 366 241 7-1 5-3 5-1 9-3
x-New Orleans 11 5 0 .688 414 304 8-0 3-5 5-1 9-3
Atlanta 4 12 0 .250 353 443 3-5 1-7 1-5 3-9
Tampa Bay 4 12 0 .250 288 389 3-5 1-7 1-5 2-10
 
West Division W L T Pct. PF PA Home Away Div Conf
y-Seattle 13 3 0 .813 417 231 7-1 6-2 4-2 10-2
x-San Francisco 12 4 0 .750 406 272 6-2 6-2 5-1 9-3
Arizona 10 6 0 .625 379 324 6-2 4-4 2-4 6-6
St. Louis 7 9 0 .438 348 364 5-3 2-6 1-5 4-8
 
x= clinched playoff berth
y= clinched division title
  • NASL: RailHawks vs. Ft. Lauderdale

    Today at 7:30 am on WRAL-2

  • PGA: RBC Heritage

    Today at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: RBC Heritage

    Tomorrow at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MLB: Atlanta Braves at NY Mets

    Tonight at 7:05 on 99.9 The Fan

  • MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox

    Tomorrow at 7:05 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
NOR 0
DUR 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR
 
Final
CHC 1
CIN 4
Final
PIT 3
MIL 5
Final
WAS 3
STL 1
Final
CLE 2
TOR 3
Final
DET 6
ANA 11
Final
NYM 0
ATL 6
Final
BOS 4
BAL 8
Final
TAM 11
NYY 5
Final
MIA 8
SEA 4
Final
TEX 12
CWS 0
Final
KAN 5
MIN 0
Final
COL 12
PHI 1
6th
OAK 10
HOU 3
 
8th
LOS 1
ARI 1
 
9th
SDP 2
SFG 0
 
1:05pm Today
WAS
STL
 
1:05pm Today
CLE
TOR
 
1:08pm Today
DET
ANA
 
1:35pm Today
BOS
BAL
 
2:10pm Today
KAN
MIN
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
CIN
 
4:05pm Today
OAK
HOU
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
MIL
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
ATL
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
MIA
SEA
 
8:05pm Tonight
TEX
CWS
 
8:10pm Tonight
LOS
ARI
 
8:10pm Tonight
COL
PHI
 
8:40pm Tonight
SDP
SFG
 
12:30pm Today
TOR
BRK
3:30pm Today
LAC
GSW
7:00pm Tonight
IND
ATL
9:30pm Tonight
OKC
MEM
Final
TAM 1
MON 4
Final
BOS 0
DET 1
3rd
ANA 3
DAL 2
 
3:00pm Today
STL
CHI
7:00pm Tonight
PIT
CLB
9:30pm Tonight
COL
MIN
Final
NOR 0
DUR 3
 
7:05pm Tonight
NOR
DUR