Mercifully, the Oakland Raiders season comes to a close this week with a divisional matchup with the San Diego Chargers. It’s a matchup of two teams which have underperformed this season and nobody’s head seems to be still in it. So who is the best of the mediocre in the AFC West?
Quarterback: The Raiders are down to their backup quarterback or possibly their third-string man. The Chargers have Philip Rivers, who (say what you want) is still a top-10 quarterback in the NFL if he plays up to his potential. Advantage: San Diego
Running Back: Both of these teams have terrible running games, but Darren McFadden is the better back. The game’s going to be an aerial assault anyway so this unit doesn’t matter a lot. Advantage: Oakland
Wide Receiver and Tight End: The Raiders have more pure talent at receiver, but the two best pass-catchers in this game are the two tight ends. Advantage: Oakland
Offensive Line: The only thing San Diego’s offensive line is good at is letting the defenders get to Rivers. Oakland’s line at least semi-protects the quarterback. Advantage: Oakland
Defensive Line: San Diego has the fourth-best rush defense in the NFL a lot of which has to do with the play of the defensive line in eating up blockers. Meanwhile, Oakland’s unit has come together in recent weeks, but has not played at that high of a level all season. Advantage: San Diego
Linebackers: The Chargers linebackers have been all over the field in helping to make San Diego the fourth-best rush defense. The jury is still out on Oakland’s corps which has played spotty at best this season. Advantage: San Diego
Secondary: The Raiders’ secondary has put together its best stretch of the season, although it has played bad passing quarterbacks. The Chargers’ defensive backfield has not been terrific, but it has been average. Advantage: San Diego
Specialists: Both of the Raiders’ specialists had terrific years this season and as a unit are the best in the league hands down. Advantage: Oakland
Coach: Going back to the slideshow of the worst coaches in the NFL, Norv Turner was No. 1 by a long mile. Granted, Dennis Allen was No. 4, but that’s better than No. 1. Advantage: Oakland
After Sunday there will be no more Raiders football, a delightful sight for us all.