Phillip Rivers and the Chargers came into the season determined to start off fast and challenge the Kansas City Chiefs’ hold on the AFC West.
But it took some late-game magic to sneak by a 49ers team without its starting quarterback and running back just to pull even at 2-2 as the first quarter of the season drew to a close.
That leaves the Raiders, fresh off a wild 45-42 victory over the Cleveland Browns, in a position to pull the Chargers back into a last-place tie with their Oakland rivals.
Most would agree the Chargers are the better team on paper, but this season has already shown us that on any given Sunday, anything can happen.
Oakland’s 45-point explosion against an above-average Browns defense was among the unexpected developments of Week 4. Jon Gruden pounded the Browns with inside runs enough to give Derek Carr the chance to throw for 437 yards and 4 touchdowns.
The Raiders’ defense gave up a ton of yards and points, too, but they came up big against a rookie passer when it mattered. Two picks and two fumble recoveries kept the Raiders in the game.
Meanwhile, the Chargers withstood some adversity and pulled out a tough contest in San Francisco. Rivers was good enough to hit Austin Ekeler and his old buddy, Antonio Gates for touchdowns.
Melvin Gordon was the real catalyst, though, with 104 rushing and 159 total yards to go with a touchdown. Keenan Allen was the leading receiver, completing a formula that wins more games for the Chargers than not.
The Chargers’ defense is still without Joey Bosa. They gave up a long touchdown to tight end George Kittle that accounted for almost a third of CJ Beathard’s 297 passing yards and raised the Niners’ level of confidence.
Jon Gruden surely made note of the Chargers’ flaws and is plotting how to use his explosive tight end and other receivers Sunday.
How to watch the Chargers-Raiders game
CBS Sports will broadcast this late-bracket Sunday matchup to all of California and for some reason, to much of Michigan and Wisconsin.
But if you’re a Raiders fan living along Lake Superior, you can watch live stream NFL action on DirecTV Now. In fact, anyone who did away with their expensive cable or satellite contracts can watch live stream NFL games on internet television.
DirecTV Now is a leading internet service offering every network you need to watch live stream NFL games all week without a contract or expensive equipment.
Fubo TV and PlayStation Vue also carry NFL-contracted networks, along with YouTube TV and Sling in many markets across the USA.
Check out the company websites to see what else these internet providers offer in your neck of the wood.
Who will win the Chargers-Raiders game?
Other than one half of their season opener against the other-worldly Rams offense, Jon Gruden has had his Raiders ready and playing teams tough all season.
There is no reason to suspect he will not enter this week’s contest with a plan capable of bringing down the favored Chargers.
Rivers and his Chargers know they have to maintain their winning ways if they want to be close enough to challenge Kansas City for the division title later in the season.
Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler are giving the Chargers an explosive 1-2 punch at running back. We are sure to see Antonio Gates in the end zone again as he is back in the flow again.
You can never rule the Raiders out, and a dramatic win like they experienced last week does wonders for a team’s confidence. But the Chargers have too much on the line and too many weapons to fall prey to the rebuilding team from up north. Final score: Chargers 27, Raiders 21