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Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye

Prediction: OAK 10, SD 27

Another interesting game between two divisional rivals. The Raiders are on a two game winning streak and have yet to score less than 20 points in a game this year. The Chargers come off a much needed win when they decimated the Broncos and regained at least a little of the swagger that had all but called lost after losing three in a row. Played in San Diego is a great place for the Chargers to continue winning ways. Point of comparison is that the Raiders lost to the Broncos in Denver by three points in a game that they could have won. The Chargers come off a 41-3 thrashing of the same Broncos in Denver last week.

The Chargers swept the Raiders last year, winning 27-0 at the season opener in Oakland and later 21-14 in San Diego.

Update: After being limited in practice on Wednesday, Lamont Jordan had a full day on Thursday though Rhodes and Fargas split first team carries on Tuesday when Jordan could not continue with his back hurting. I am adding Jordan back into the projections this week but failing his back getting completely healthy in a matter of days, I expect that he will split carries with both Rhodes and Fargas to some extent. Much of it will depend on how well his back holds up. It appears safe to start him this week but unwise to expect him back just as good as prior to his back injury. He'll be put back into the flow slowly to keep him healthy and his progress on track.

Unrelated side note - the Raiders may be able to take Michael Bush off the PUP list next week though he has not practiced with the team and no official word has been given. But he was reported to look good in the weight room and to have dropped weight. If you have a free roster spot in a deep league, he may be worth stashing just in case he is activated. You'll know fairly quickly if that will happen or if he is moved to Injured Reserve. The Raiders backfield really doesn't need yet another back and Bush may be better served allowing him to recuperate until next year but it's worth keeping an eye on just in case he is activated and Jordan ends up with any continuing back problems.

Oakland Raiders (2-2)
Homefield: McAfee Coliseum
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 DET 21-36 -1 39
2 @DEN 20-23 +10 37.5
3 CLE 26-24 +3 40.5
4 @MIA 35-17 +3.5 40
5 BYE - - -
6 @SD   +10 44
7 KC 21-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
8 @TEN 28-Oct SUN 1:00 PM
9 HOU 4-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
10 CHI 11-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
11 @MIN 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 @KC 25-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
13 DEN 2-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
14 @GB 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 IND 16-Dec SUN 4:05 PM
16 @JAC 23-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
17 SD 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
OAK at SD Rush Catch Pass
QB Daunte Culpepper 30   160,1
RB Justin Fargas 20    
RB Dominic Rhodes 40    
RB Lamont Jordan 50    
TE Zach Miller   20  
WR Jerry Porter   60,1  
WR Ronald Curry   60  
WR Mike Williams   20  
PK Sebastian Janikowski 1 XP 1 FG  
Pregame Notes: The Raiders come off their bye week with a 2-2 record but that came with wins over the visiting Browns and the win-less Dolphins. Not exactly the toughest of opponents but the Raiders are undeniably improved from last year which wasn't hard to do. This will likely prove to be one of the toughest games of the year for the Raiders on the road against an opponent who not only has owned them lately, but that has just finally got a hold on their offensive identity this year.

Quarterback: Josh McCown is still hampered by his injured foot and was wearing a boot as recently as Monday. Daunte Culpepper will get his second chance to start but it could not possibly go as well as it did in Miami when he had three rushing scores and two passing touchdowns. Look for Culpepper to return to far lower numbers when he has no axe to grind against a 0-5 team like in week four. Culpepper started that entire game but only had five completions on 12 attempts for 75 yards.

Running Backs: After start the season with three big weeks, Lamont Jordan injured his back in week four and could not finish the game. Early reports look like Jordan could miss this week as well with an unspecified back problem but he has been hampered by back issues for the last couple of seasons and appeared to get at least a moderate to severe back strain against the Dolphins. Fargas gained an impressive 179 yards on 22 carries against the Fins but only managed 82 yards on 21 carries in the first three games.

This is the week that Dominic Rhodes returns from suspension and none too soon with Jordan questionable. Rhodes should be a very nice replacement for Jordan while he is out and offers a nice "punch it in" ability unlike Fargas.

Wide Receivers: The oddity with this crew is that they scored touchdowns in each of the first four games. Ronald Curry had his monster effort against the Lions in Oakland and scored against the Browns as well - both home games. He only had three catches for 28 yards during the two road games. Jerry Porter only had three catches for 46 yards in the two home games but scored in both road efforts including two in Miami. Mike Williams is only good for one catch per week. The distinctive pattern here has been Porter on the road, Curry at home and Mike Williams nowhere.

Tight Ends: Minimal numbers from both Zach Miller and John Madsen this year and no scores. Madsen had one decent game against the visiting Browns but otherwise these guys peter out around 20 yards per week if that much.

Match Against the Defense: The Chargers have been good against the run and the team appears on the upswing after last week when they held Travis Henry to only 65 yards. Fargas is no Henry. Expect only moderate yardage here in the rushing game and even that will need a longer run or two to accomplish.

Culpepper faces a secondary that has not done well this year and that allowed three teams to throw for two or more scores with very healthy yardage which includes Damon Huard. Look for Culpepper to throw for at least one score and likely run one in himself since Fargas is not nearly the banger that Jordan is. That score should favor Porter by trend but could obviously go to Curry as well.

Gaining Fantasy Points OAK 8 2 20 27 22 15
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 21 7 25 27 13 20


San Diego Chargers (2-3)
Homefield: Qualcomm Stadium
  Opp Score Spread Over/Under
1 CHI 14-3 -5.5 42.5
2 @NE 14-38 +3 47
3 @GB 24-31 -5 43
4 KC 16-30 -13 38.5
5 @DEN 41-3 -1 43
6 OAK   -10 44
7 BYE - - -
8 HOU 28-Oct SUN 4:05 PM
9 @MIN 4-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
10 IND 11-Nov SUN 8:15 PM
11 @JAC 18-Nov SUN 1:00 PM
12 BAL 25-Nov SUN 4:15 PM
13 @KC 2-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
14 @TEN 9-Dec SUN 1:00 PM
15 DET 16-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
16 DEN 24-Dec MON 8:00 PM
17 @OAK 30-Dec SUN 4:15 PM
SDC vs OAK Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers     240,2
RB LaDainian Tomlinson 120,1 20  
TE Antonio Gates   90,1  
WR Vincent Jackson   80,1  
WR Craig Davis   30  
WR Malcolm Floyd   10  
PK Nate Kaeding 2 FG 3 XP  

Pregame Notes: What a major sigh of relief. After dropping three straight games - including a home game against the Chiefs - suddenly everything was right again last week when the Charger rolled up on the Broncos in a game where everything worked to perfection as we expected for the season, not just one game. But it puts the team on the right track to be sure and a win this week send the Chargers into the bye with a 3-3 record and a shot at compensating for a slow start with an improving team that is back to the scoring ways of 2006.

Quarterback: Will the real Philip Rivers please stand up? After a horrible outing against the Chiefs in San Diego, Rivers bounced back against the Broncos and completed 13 of 18 passes for 270 yards and two scores with no turnovers. And no sacks. It was night and day in difference to the previous week and came against one of the better secondaries in the NFL if not the best. This week presents a golden opportunity for Rivers to show that he is on board with the new scheme and can make it work. A good game here makes the previous failures fade away. A bad game says last week was an aberration.

Rivers threw for only 108 and 133 yards during the two meetings against the Raiders in 2006.

Running Backs: While LaDainian Tomlinson is not likely to challenge the scoring record again this year - he only has three scores on the season and none last week - he totaled 140 yards against the Broncos on Sunday by adding in three catches for 73 yards to his 67 yards on 21 carries. He's not "back" yet because his 2006 campaign was impossible to repeat but he's still posting top ten fantasy numbers in an offense that appears to be finally getting on track.

Tomlinson racked up 131 yards and one score to open last year in Oakland and later had 109 yards and two scores in San Diego against them.

Wide Receivers: Surprisingly, Vincent Jackson had one of his best games of the year going against Champ Bailey and snagged three passes for 84 yards and one score in Denver on Sunday. That makes Jackson good for never less than 50 yards per game and scores in two if the last three weeks. Buster Davis never even had a pass thrown to him while being covered by Dre Bly last week and still is a side note to this offense. After Tomlinson and Gates get theirs, Jackson is next in line.

Tight Ends: As badly as the Chargers have struggled at times this season, it has never changed what Antonio Gates can do. In just five games, he already has three efforts over 100 yards, three scores and never less than six catches for 79 yards. As the rest of the offense improves, Gates only continues to ride the wave.

Gates only had two catches for 26 yards in the first meeting with the Raiders last year but turned in six receptions for 81 yards in San Diego against them. He scored once in each game.

Match Against the Defense: Tomlinson has long enjoyed good games against the Raiders who have given opposing runners over 120 yards in both road games this year. Expect a very nice effort here before the bye week with no less than 120 total yards and a score with a shot at the biggest numbers by any running back this week.

Rivers has never had much production against the Raiders but mainly because the team just used Tomlinson to crush the Raiders last year. Oakland has never allowed less than one passing score to an opponent and that has to favor Gates. I like Rivers to toss two touchdowns here because the Chargers need a big win to still be smiling come their bye next week. No luxury of just winning by a small margin will do.

Gaining Fantasy Points SD 13 6 28 3 26 16
Preventing Fantasy Points OAK 26 22 24 19 24 23

The Huddle
~ 2007 ~
Season Ticket
Sunday night
On Bye

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