For the Oakland Raiders the final Sunday of the regular season is the biggest game of since the team last appearance in the Super Bowl. The host their AFC west rival the hated San Diego Chargers on New Year’s Day. The Raiders will come into the game with two chances to get in the post season. The AFC Wild Card is still up for grabs and (a win and losses by Cincinnati and Tennessee) will secure them that spot. But the AFC west title is still attainable as well the Raiders can win the AFC west crown with (a win and Denver loss). The Silver and Black look to enter the post season for the first time in nine years.
The game will be the second meeting of the season between the two teams. The first meeting was a 24-17 Raiders victory where Michael Bush recorded 242 yards from scrimmage (fourth highest in Raider history and highest since 1963). Denarius Moore contributed with 5 catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns. Carson Palmer was 14/20 for 299 yards and two touchdowns. The Raiders will look to finish their season .500 at home and a season sweep of the Chargers would give the Raiders their fourth straight win in the series.
The Chargers, eliminated from playoff contention, will look to Philip Rivers to try to pick apart a Raiders pass defense that hasn't played consistent of late. Rivers has thrown for 4,314 yards and 24 touchdowns this year in what hasn't been his best season as a starter. Though named to the Pro Bowl earlier in the week he has thrown a career worse 19 interceptions. Vincent Jackson (58 rec. 1077 yards 8 TDs) will be Rivers' main target in the game.
Look for this to be the final game for San Diego head coach Norv Turner, who has failed to get the Chargers to the playoffs in back-to-back seasons after making the playoffs in five of the six previous years. San Diego has lost seven of ten after starting the season with a 4-1 record.
The Raiders will have a returning Jacoby Ford, who was injured in the last meeting with the Chargers, and possibly Darren McFadden, who was injured in week seven against Kansas City. Carson Palmer will be at ease if Ford and McFadden are both back for this game as Palmer could finally have his full offense for the first time this season. Moore (30 rec. 517 Yards 5 TDs) has become one of Palmer's favorite deep threats. With Ford in the line-up, and possibly McFadden, look for the Raiders to try to stretch the field for most of the ballgame.
For the Raiders to make the playoffs they have to win! This is the most important game in Oakland since the 2002 AFC Championship game. We will find out Sunday who has the final word on the final two playoff spots to be filled. But for the Raiders to have a winning season, they have to win, and their would be no better way to end Norv Turner's San Diego tenure then by giving him a loss in Oakland.