Chargers Clinch the Third AFC Seed; Top Raiders 30-17

San Diego Chargers' Antonio Cromartie, left, almost intercepts a pass against the Oakland Raiders' Jerry Porter in the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007, in Oakland, Calif.

The San Diego Chargers are peaking as they enter the playoffs, and as they wrapped up the AFC’s number three seed on Sunday with a win over the Raiders, the team also clinched a playoff game vs the number 6 seed in the AFC, either the Tennessee Titans or the Cleveland Browns. Sunday in Oakland the team was actually outgained by the Raiders 316 to 253, but did enough to beat their rivals 30-17.

Phillip Rivers threw a pair of TD passes, one to running back LaDainian Tomlinson, the other to Chris Chambers, as the team built a 14-10 halftime lead, then added 10 more in the third quarter and two Nate Kaeding field goals in the fourth as the defense held Oakland in check as they took home their 11th win of the season.

The win for the Chargers means a home game next Sunday vs the sixth seeded AFC team, then if they win that they will travel to Indianapolis, where they will rematch against a Colts team they beat earlier in the season on a Sunday night in San Diego. Both teams have come a long way since then, and a possible divisional matchup with the Colts could turn out to be a classic.

As for the Raiders, they end the 2007 season at 4-12, and under Lane Kiffin they showed glimpses of being a better football team, but overall they have a long way to go. They may have gotten a showing of the future on Sunday, as number one pick JaMarcus Rusell started and went 23-for-31 for 224 yards with one TD and one pick. He also was helped by the running of Dominic Rhodes, who rushed for 122 yards on 29 carries with a score.

Back to the Chargers, they will enter the playoffs on a high note. They have not lost a game since November 18th vs the Jags on the road, a team they will not have to face in the playoffs. They seem to have all the pieces in place to be a solid favorite next week, then if they win that they should give the Colts a ride in the divisional round. For now, they will sit back, get ready for round one, and then hope that their comeback story of 2007 continues.


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