By Dave Thomas
Coming into the 2014 NFL season, it was widely thought that the Jacksonville Jaguars, Tampa Bay Bucs and a few other teams would be the bottom dwellers in their respective divisions.
The Oakland Raiders?
Well, despite the fact the team hasn’t sniffed a Super Bowl since actually getting there a decade ago and losing handily to the Tampa Bay Bucs and Jon Gruden, it was thought by some that Oakland had made enough moves in the off-season via free agency etc. that it could at least compete in the usually tough AFC West. No, not win the division, but at least give rivals Denver, Kansas City and San Diego a run for their money.
Starting this Sunday, that thought will be severely put to the test as the Raiders, quite possibly the worst team in the league at the present time, play host to longtime division foe San Diego.
Raiders Truly Are Bad
With losses in their first four games, the Raiders join Jacksonville (0-5) as the only winless teams in the NFL heading into the second Sunday of October.
In their most recent contest, the Raiders were smoked 38-14 by Miami in London. Yes, the Raiders flew half a world away just to get blown out.
As has been the case for a good decade, Oakland has been fraught with bad decision making when it comes to draft choices and selections in free agency.
Remember the likes of Jamarcus Russell and Terrelle Pryor? Yep, two quarterbacks who were both projected to be lifesavers in the Bay Area, especially the former one. Neither panned out and the Raiders continue to flounder at the most important position on the field.
Meantime, the Raiders are an anemic dead last in the league when it comes to rushing the football, their defense has more holes than a package of Swiss cheese, and former head coach Dennis Allen is just that after only four games into the season.
So, is there any chance that the Chargers could go up to Oakland (Raiders lead all-time series 59-48-2) this weekend and come home with only their second loss of the season?
Sure, as the NFL has shown itself just five weeks into the season, anything can happen.
Who had Tampa Bay going into Pittsburgh two weekends ago and knocking off the heavily favored Steelers, especially after Tampa had just dropped a 56-14 decision in Atlanta a little over a week earlier? You might also wonder who had Tom Brady and the Patriots getting beat every which way possible a week ago Monday night (41-14) in Kansas City. That is not to say the Chiefs are bad, but the Patriots were really bad that night.
For San Diego, the key this Sunday is to not get caught looking ahead to tougher tests the following week with Kansas City (Oct. 19) and on the road in Denver (Oct. 23).
Should San Diego go to 5-1 this weekend in Oakland? The answer is a rather resounding yes; this despite the fact the Raiders pulled the upset at home last season 27-17.
Could the Chargers stub their toes against quite arguably the worst team in the league? The answer is anything can happen on any given Sunday in the NFL.
For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on aExaminer.com.