The Oakland Raiders have been the biggest surprise of the AFC West, if not the entire NFL, this year, as they currently sit at 10-3 and are in position to make the postseason for the first time since 2003.
If they want to win their division though, they may have to win their last three games of the regular season, as the Kansas City Chiefs are also 10-3, but own the tiebreaker over Oakland as they have beat them twice this season.
The first test the Raiders face is this Sunday on the road against the division rival San Diego Chargers.
The Chargers are 5-8 on the season, but have played some good teams tough and have lost a lot of close games. This past Sunday they were defeated 28-16 by the Carolina Panthers on the road.
Quarterback Phillip Rivers had one of his worst games of the season, as he had 239 yards passing to go along with two touchdowns, but also threw three interceptions and two lost fumbles.
Despite the poor performance, Raiders quarterback Derek Carr still had a lot of praise for Rivers as he said he is a Hall of Fame quarterback, via Kyle Martin of Raiders.com:
“That’s the thing about the NFL, obviously he’s going to come off a rough one also, there are games and plays he probably wishes he could have back. That’s just the NFL, you watch the NFL and see all of these really good quarterbacks having some off days, and offenses not scoring as many points, and defenses that usually stop everybody giving up points. It just reminds me that in this league anything can happen…Philip Rivers is a Hall of Fame quarterback, he’s put up the numbers to do it, he’s one of the best players to ever play.”
Rivers had a good games against the Raiders earlier this season, as he threw for 359 yards, four touchdowns and two interceptions, although the Raiders won the game 34-31.
In Rivers’ first 10 years as a starter he was named to five Pro Bowls. This season he has completed just 61.9 percent of his passes, which is the lowest for him since 2007. He has 27 touchdown passes though, which is only seven short of his career high 34 in 2008 with three games left to play.
Carr is also coming off a bad game, as last Thursday against the Kansas City Chiefs he threw for a season-low 117 yards. So he will look to bounce back this Sunday against Rivers and the Chargers.