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Chargers @ Raiders

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By TAYLOR BECHTOLD

STATS Writer
(AP) -- Although they've lost three centers and a couple of running backs in the past five weeks, the San Diego Chargers keep plugging the holes while moving closer to their longest winning streak in five years.

 

Philip Rivers and the banged-up Chargers look to keep rolling with their fifth straight victory Sunday when they visit the winless Oakland Raiders, who make their debut under interim coach Tony Sparano.

 

San Diego (4-1) could be starting its fourth center after Doug Legursky went down with a knee injury in last Sunday's 31-0 home win over the Jets.

 

Rookie Chris Watt is the favorite after filling in for four plays, while Trevor Robinson was signed off Cincinnati's practice squad and Rich Ohrnberger returned to practice Wednesday after missing two games with a back injury.

 

The Chargers lost starter Nick Hardwick to a neck stinger in an 18-17 season-opening loss at Arizona.

 

"We work a bunch of them," coach Mike McCoy said. "We're going to play the healthiest guy who helps us win."

 

McCoy's squad also lost another running back when Donald Brown sustained a concussion last weekend. Starter Ryan Mathews has yet to return to practice after suffering a sprained MCL in Week 2.

 

Undrafted rookie Branden Oliver helped boost the attack with 19 carries for a career-high 114 yards and a score against the Jets. He added four catches for 68 yards and a touchdown.

 

San Diego added some needed depth this week by bringing back Ronnie Brown. The 10-year veteran, who played 30 games for the Chargers from 2012-13, appeared in three with Houston before being released last week.

 

Though the offense has been short-handed, San Diego has outscored opponents 116-45 during the winning streak. They rank sixth with 29.0 points and ninth with 389.0 yards per game since Week 2.

 

Rivers has certainly played at a high level over that span, completing 73.6 percent of his passes for an average of 301.3 yards with 11 touchdowns and one interception. He's thrown for an average of 345.8 yards in his last four road games against the Raiders (0-4).

 

The Chargers, who have won eight of their last nine regular-season games, haven't won five in a row since an 11-game run on the way to their last AFC West title in 2009.

 

"We might hit a bump in the road going forward, but I think our toughness has been shown the last five weeks," Rivers said.

 

The Raiders fired coach Dennis Allen following a 38-14 loss to Miami in London that gave them four straight defeats to open a season for the first time since 2006. They replaced him with Sparano heading into their bye week.

 

Oakland has dropped 10 consecutive games overall and is on the verge of its first seven-game home skid since losing 11 in a row between 1961-62.

 

"The things that we're not doing well we're just not going to continue to do," Sparano said. "There's no sense in putting a square peg in a round hole right now."

 

Sparano has promised a commitment to the run game, where Oakland ranks last with an average of 61.5 yards. Darren McFadden has a team-high 151 yards on 45 attempts, while Maurice Jones-Drew has totaled 12 on 11 carries.

 

Rookie quarterback Derek Carr appears likely to return after leaving the London game with left ankle and knee injuries. He was 16 of 25 for 146 yards with one touchdown and one interception, giving him at least one pick in the last three games.

 

He'll have to contend with a San Diego team that leads the NFL with 12.6 points allowed per game and ranks third in total defense (290.8) following its first shutout in almost four years.

 

The Raiders, who have allowed 68 points in two home games, suffered a big blow to their defense Wednesday when they learned linebacker Nick Roach would miss the season after he was unable to recover from a preseason concussion.

 

Kaluka Maiava (hamstring) also has been placed on injured reserve, leaving Miles Burris as the starting middle linebacker. Outside linebacker Sio Moore has returned to practice after missing two games with an ankle injury.

 

Oakland has dropped eight of 10 at home to the Chargers but pulled out a 27-17 victory there last season. The Raiders forced five turnovers and picked off Rivers three times, the most he's thrown in 16 career meetings.

 

Source: Hosted.Stats.com

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Probably a boring game, but there's a chance the Raiders just come out with a fire lit under their asses and ball out.

 

I doubt it though, and I think the Chargers coast on through.

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This is still a divisional matchup, but like Razor said, I just dont see the Raiders being competitive.

 

:Chargers: 31

:Raiders: 10

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Malcolm Floyd! So underrated still. Don't know if people realize he has averaged about 18 yards a catch for his career.

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Raiders with the obligatory we-just-fired-our-coach-let's-get-hype performance.

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At least the Raiders played hard...

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