Sunday, 4:05 p.m. ET, at Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego - TV: CBS
*TV announcers: Andrew Catalon, Steve Tasker, Steve Beuerlein
*Keys to the game: Even though first-round RB Melvin Gordon is fighting to make even a modest impact because of injuries up front, indecisive running and ball-security issues, the Chargers' ability to control the ball through the air -- their 433.0 yards per game in total offense is built mostly on short throws -- keeps them in nearly every game. QB Philip Rivers had 503 passing yards last week and is throwing strikes to the lethal combination of TE Antonio Gates and WR Keenan Allen. Oakland's goal is to attack the pocket and puncture a weakened offensive line.
With a week off to rest an injured shoulder, the Raiders will look to get RB Latavius Murray enough work to keep the Chargers thinking about the ground game. That plan has helped QB Derek Carr gain larger windows for downfield strikes to WRs Amari Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
*Matchup to watch - Raiders OLBs Khalil Mack and Aldon Smith vs. Chargers offensive line: LT King Dunlap could return and leap right into the fire against Smith. Joe Barksdale gets a stiff assignment against Mack, a relentless and explosive pass rusher who is difficult to double-team and is seventh in the NFL with 17 QB hurries.
*Player spotlight - Chargers S Neiron Ball: He played 36 snaps while helping hand Broncos tight end Owen Daniels his only shutout of the season. Ball could play even more, and possibly start, against the Chargers. His speed was a factor on special teams, but Ball played no more than five snaps from scrimmage. If he starts, Ray-Ray Armstrong sits.
*Fast facts: The Raiders have one win in the past seven meetings. ... Allen is the first player in NFL history with 12 or more catches in three of his first six games in a season.
WHO WILL WIN AND WHY
The Raiders are still learning how to finish and while the Chargers left a chance for overtime at the goal line last week, QB Philip Rivers has mastered Oakland in his career and delivers with San Diego in a near must-win spot.
*Our pick: Chargers 34-27.