San Diego (4-10) at Oakland (6-8), 8:25 p.m. Thursday on NFL Network. While most of America is leaving milk and cookies for Santa or getting ready to go to Midnight Mass, a pair of California and AFC West rivals open play in week 15 as Oakland, holding on for dear life in the playoff race, hosts a San Diego Chargers team that would like nothing more than to knock their rivals out of the playoffs.

Although they were outscored by Miami in the second half, the Chargers managed to knock the Dolphins out of the playoff race in their 30-14 win at Qualcomm. San Diego led 23-0 at the half and never trailed in the contest with Miami in the contest. San Diego held Miami to 44 yards rushing, while they ran for 140 of their own (Donald Brown led all rushers with 90 yards on 12 carries), with Philip Rivers throwing for 311 yards and three TDs, all to RB Danny Woodhead, even though he also had a pair of interceptions and was sacked once. San Diego on third down tries went 9 of 14 and kept the ball for 38:53, while Miami went 2 of 14 on third down but found success in their three fourth down tries, keeping the ball for 21:07. Woodhead scored four total touchdowns (three receiving, one rushing) against the Dolphins, making him the first Charger since La Dainian Tomlinson (2007) to score four touchdowns in a game. Woodhead leads all running backs this season with 651 receiving yards and is third with 64 receptions.

“This was a great team win, a great team effort,” says Chargers head coach Mike McCoy. “We have to give the leadership on this football team a lot of credit. Our team keeps grinding and I am happy about the win.”

Rivers has compiled a 4-2 record on Thursday, including three wins against AFC West opponents. For his career, Rivers is 14-5 as a starter against Oakland, and is 14 games over .500 (36-22) when starting against the AFC West. Since 2006, Rivers has the most passing yards (14,198) and third-most touchdowns (89) of any player in the AFC against his own division.

Rivers’ passing numbers against the AFC West since 2006:

RECORD, ATTEMPTS/COMPLETIONS, YARDS; TD PASSES, PASSER RATING
36-22, 1,840/1,159, 14,198; 89, 90.6

Oakland aims to rebound following a 30-20 loss to Green Bay.

“We understand that we were not good enough to beat the Packers this week,” says Raiders head coach Jack Del Rio. “We have a short week. We need to do everything we can to get prepared on a short week with a game on Thursday night.”

Oakland quarterback Derek Carr passed for 276 yards and two touchdowns, the 11th time in the past 13 games that he has thrown two or more touchdowns. Carr has 30 touchdown passes this season, joining Daryle Lamonica as the only Raiders quarterbacks with 30 in a single season.

Raiders rookie wide receiver Amari Cooper had six receptions for 120 yards and two touchdowns against the Packers. Cooper (1,040) eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark, making him the first Raiders rookie ever and the first Oakland player since Randy Moss (1,005) in 2005 to reach the mark.

“He’s the ultimate team guy,” says Carr about Cooper. “Anytime you can do that in this league against the defensive backs of today, that is no small feat. That means you are a really good wide receiver, one of the best in the world.”

On defense, cornerback David Amerson recorded six tackles and an interception against the Packers. Amerson now leads the league with 24 passes defensed.

Defensive end Khalil Mack recorded a sack last week, his fourth consecutive game with a sack. Mack, who has four multiple-sack games this season, leads the league with 15 sacks. He needs 1.5 sacks to eclipse the club record of 16 by Derrick Burgess in 2005.

The players with the most sacks this season:
PLAYER, TEAM (SACKS)
Khalil Mack, Oakland (15)
Ezekiel Ansah, Detroit (13.5)
J.J. Watt, Houston (13.5)
Chandler Jones, New England (12.5)
Muhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets (12)

Oakland fell to Green Bay 30-20 at O.com Coliseum. The Silver and Black led 20-17 with 6:48 left in the third quarter when rookie WR Amari Cooper and David Carr connected on a 26 yard pass and then saw that lead evaporate as the Packers rallied as WR Joel Jones and Aaron Rodgers hooked up on a 30-yard pass play of their own in the third. Green Bay would add a pair of Matt Crosby field goals in the final quarter to seal the deal. Oakland did outrush the Packers 120-103 and Carr outpassed Rodgers 276-204 (Carr had a pair of TDs but threw two interceptions and was sacked three times) in the contest on the West Coast that had three lead changes but it was the two interceptions and the Packers taking the lead back that did Oakland in. Green Bay was 4 of 13 on third down tries, keeping the ball for 29:29, while the Raiders at O.co Coliseum went 5 of 167 and 1 of 4 on third and fourth downs, possessing the pigskin for 30:31. This week also marks the final time that Raiders fans will see Charles Woodson in the Silver and Black. The Pro Bowl safety announced his retirement this week after 18 seasons in the NFL, winning a Super Bowl ring with Green Bay and has recorded five interceptions for the Raiders.

The two AFC West rivals meet for the second time in northern California after their first contest at Qualcomm, a 37-29 Raiders win in week seven. Oakland led 30-6 at the half and never let the foot off the gas against the Bolts, who actually outscored them 23-7 in the final 30 minutes of play. Oakland outrushed the Chargers 130-90 but Philip Rivers did manage to outpass David Carr 336-289 (both men had three TDs in the contest, Rivers had a pair of interceptions). The Chargers were 50 percent on third down tries, going 8 of 16 and kept the ball for 29:11, while Oakland was 5 of 12, holding on to the ball for 30:49.

In the first meeting in southern California in week seven, the Chargers were favored by 5 1/2 and Oakland covered the spread with ease, winning by 8. Both teams also covered the over/under of 47 with 56 combined points. This time around, the oddsmakers like the Silver and Black as 6 point favorites and the over/under is 47.

Oakland is looking to sweep San Diego for the first time since 2010, while the Chargers are looking for revenge and some post-season company as they miss the playoffs. Neither team will make the post-season party but even with that, these two rivals from the Golden State will make this one interesting. The Chargers will make this one closer than the 6 but Oakland pulls off the sweep and “just wins, baby!”

BROADCAST INFORMATION – 8:25 p.m. on NFL Network: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson (field reporter). Westwood One: Wayne Larrivee, Tim Ryan. SIRIUS: 88 (WestWood1), 83 (San Diego), 82 (Oakland). XM: 88 (WestWood1), 225 (San Diego), 82 (Oakland).

Injury Report

San Diego
OUT: T King Dunlap (Ankle), LB Kyle Emanuel (Concussion), DT Sean Lissemore (Shoulder)
QUESTIONABLE: TE Ladarius Green (Ankle), WR Steve Johnson (Groin)
PROBABLE: CB Steven Williams (Hip)

Oakland
OUT: S Nathaniel Allen (Knee), DE Mario Edwards (Neck)
QUESTIONABLE: CB Neiko Thorpe (Neck)
PROBABLE: WR Seth Roberts (Abdomen), S Charles Woodson (Shoulder), WR Amari Cooper (Foot), DE Khalil Mack (Knee)

Weather Outlook: Mostly cloudy and windy and 48 degrees.

Broadcast Information and injury report courtesy the National Football League, odds courtesy Don Best and USA Today, weather information courtesy The Weather Channel.

Advertisements