Week 17 Preview: San Diego at Oakland

Gates scores vs Denver

The Chargers have a lot to play for this weekend in Oakland, and they should be able to wrap up the number three seed in the AFC as they take on the reeling Raiders in Oakland Sunday afternoon.  The Raiders are looking ahead to 2008, and with it comes the first NFL start of number one draft choice JaMarcus Russell.  Last week vs the Jags, Russell played most of the contest, and was not very good, looking lost in going 7-for-23 for 83 yards with three picks, a fumble and one TD.

Look for the Chargers to simply overwhelm him and the rest of the silver and black.  They have an aggressive defense that should create plenty of chances for turnovers, and at the same time should teach Russell some tough growing pains in his first start.  Playing at home has not exactly been all that great for the Raiders when they play the Chargers, as they have been outscored 77-31 in their last three home losses to San Diego.

The Chargers also have getting healthy going for them as well.  They are getting a couple of big defensive players back to form, as defensive lineman Luis Castillo and linebacker Shawne Merriman are back in the lineup and they both made plays against the Broncos in a 23-3 win last Monday night.  The Chargers should be able to build a lead with their defense, use backup running backs in Michael Turner and Darren Sproles to kill the clock, and get ready for a wild card matchup next weekend with the Titans or Browns.


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