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    NFL Preview - San Diego (2-2) at Oakland (1-3)



    By Lyle Fitzsimmons, Contributing NFL Editor

    (SportsNetwork.com) - Until further notice, Oakland is without question a baseball city.

    With the Athletics in the divisional round of the American League playoffs on Saturday night, the long-moribund Raiders have been forced into the unique position of having to schedule around the remnants of their stadium mate's revelry when it comes to their own Week 5 game with San Diego.

    The Chargers' visit, which had been scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 4:05 p.m. ET, will now occur at 11:35 p.m. ET because of the prolonged time it takes to convert the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum from one sport to another.

    The late-night game will be broadcast by the NFL Network, and the extra few hours will no doubt be spent by Oakland QB Terrelle Pryor undergoing last- minute assessments to make sure he's ready to return after suffering a concussion in Week 3 against Denver.

    Pryor was held out of last week's game, which ended in a 24-14 loss to Washington.

    He completed 19 passes, threw for 281 yards and brought his 2013 rushing total to 198 yards -- second-best on the team -- in the loss to the Broncos. His replacement, free-agent signee Matt Flynn, went 21-for-32 against the Redskins for 227 yards, a TD and an interception.

    Pryor participated fully in Oakland's Wednesday practice and is expected to play Sunday.

    "It's going to be a tough, competitive football game," Raiders coach Dennis Allen said. "They've got good players. We're going to have to play well to beat them."

    That will presumably include Pryor being Pryor, though the ex-Ohio State star insisted he'll try to temper his natural instincts with a little more prudence. His first start with Oakland came last season against the Chargers, and, in a 24-21 loss, saw him throw for 150 yards and two touchdowns.

    "I just try to make the right decisions and the smart decisions and be a smart person and player," he said. "If there's three guys coming cramming down on me, I don't want to challenge all three of those guys, so get down. Just be myself and play football. That's how I have to play."

    Unfortunately for Allen, Pryor isn't the only injury concern.

    Marcel Reece's knee injury will keep the fullback out against the Chargers and center Stefan Wisniewski is doubtful with a knee issue of his own. Starting running back Darren McFadden is questionable after tweaking a hamstring last week.

    That puts more responsibility in the hands and on the legs of Rashad Jennings, who'd presumably get McFadden's workload if the No. 1 man is unavailable. Jennings had eight receptions and ran for 45 yards against the Redskins.

    "If you have the right mentality nothing really changes," he said. "You prepare that you're carrying the load always. We hope he's healthy. He's a big part of this team. Whatever role I'm asked to take on I'll be ready for it."

    San Diego took a hit of its own on the injury front when linebacker Dwight Freeney tore his quadriceps in a win over Dallas. In his first year with the Chargers after 11 seasons -- and seven Pro Bowls -- with Indianapolis, Freeney had a half-sack, one tackle and one assist in four games.

    He was placed on injured reserve and is out for the season.

    "You lose a great player like Dwight Freeney, it's a blow to your team," Chargers coach Mike McCoy said. "When you lose one of the greatest players of all-time on your team, with an injury like that, in a game, that's tough."

    McCoy, who spent last season as Peyton Manning's offensive coordinator in Denver, has had a similarly rejuvenating impact on veteran San Diego passer Philip Rivers and the rest of the Chargers offense.

    San Diego is seventh of 32 teams in scoring offense and eighth in total offense. The Chargers are sixth in passing yardage, second in passing touchdowns and second in yardage per pass attempt.

    Rivers has 35-for-42 for 401 yards and three TDs against Dallas -- the highest completion percentage (83.3) in league history for a game in which the QB registered at least 400 yards.

    For the season, he's second behind Manning in percentage, TDs and passer rating.

    Tight end Antonio Gates had 10 catches for 136 yards and a score last week, continuing a three-game stretch in which he has 23 receptions for 315 yards.

    "I feel in sync," Rivers said. "I have a rhythm and I'm comfortable in the pocket when we get that no-huddle going."

    WHAT TO WATCH FOR

    While the Chargers have returned to prolific when moving the ball, they have yet to return to past vintage when it comes to keeping others from doing the same thing.

    Because of this, and assuming he's healthy, Pryor may have a chance to do some damage with his arm and legs, as he's done through three starts thus far in 2013. With No. 1 back McFadden on the mend, expect Pryor to carry the load and work with McFadden fill-in Jennings to a large extent.

    As mentioned earlier, Rivers is looking a lot more like the guy who used to be mentioned near the same breaths as guys like Brady and Manning. Unless the four-week hot streak he's been on suddenly comes to an end, he probably has a good chance to repeat past big numbers against the Raiders -- whom he's beaten six of seven times in Oakland while averaging better than 300 yards per game.

    OVERALL ANALYSIS

    The Chargers were forecasted as a second-division team by most heading into this season, so the no-huddle entertainment they've provided thus far has been a pleasant surprise.

    Even if it's a mirage, however, that doesn't figure to be revealed against a Raiders team that, while playing at home, is significantly dinged-up and has yet to beat a team that's not based in Jacksonville.

    Sports Network predicted outcome: Chargers 24, Raiders 21

    10/03 12:45:18 ET

    Powered by The Sports Network.

    Welcome to Great38 Tampa Bay WTTA-TV/DT - WFLA News Channel 8

    Welcome to Great38 Tampa Bay WTTA-TV/DT - WFLA News Channel 8

      Great 38: Win tickets to Daytona 500

      Updated:

      Here's your chance to win tickets to the 2015 Daytona 500. Entering is easy, simply fill out the entry form included. More>>

      • Great Stuff

      News Now: Media General CEO talks about his career, future for company Video included

      Updated:

      In December, LIN Media and Media General merged to create the second largest broadcasting company in the country. The former CEO and President of LIN Media, Vince Sadusky, was placed at the helm of the new and improved Media General. More>>

      Bill Schifino, Jr talks about being President-Elect of the Florida Bar Video included

      Updated:

      Earlier this month, Bill Schifino, Jr. was announced as the 2015-16 President-Elect of the Florida Bar. Schifino comes to this position with a strong resume. More>>

      Trio sets off on 900 mile trek across Florida Video included

      Updated:

      Joe Guthrie, Mallory Lykes Dimmitt, and Carlton Ward Jr. are embarking on a journey of a lifetime. The trio are setting off on a 70-day, 900 mile trek across the state???without any automobiles.
      More>>

      How this guide dog helps one blind triathlete chase her Paralympic dream

      Updated:

      Every time Paralympic hopeful Amy Dixon makes it to the end of another grueling triathlon, she knows her trusty companion will be waiting for her at the finish line. Sixteen years after she lost vision in her right eye, which she says she viewed as "a death sentence" at the time,  More>>

      Legoland Florida hotel to open in spring; built for kids

      LEGOLAND Florida photo LEGOLAND Florida photo
      Updated:

      Legoland Florida Hotel will welcome its first guests a month earlier than previously expected.During an announcement Thursday, Legoland executives announced May 15 as the revised opening date.  More>>

      3 rhinos escape from safari zoo, return safely Video included

      Updated:

      Three rhinoceroses escaped from their site at a safari zoo in Israel this week, NBC reported.  More>>

      VIRAL VIDEO: Bossy 4-year-old girl feeds 6 pit bull dogs

      Little Girl Controls Pit Bull Dogs | Future Dog Trainer, Jukin Video on YouTube Little Girl Controls Pit Bull Dogs | Future Dog Trainer, Jukin Video on YouTube
      Updated:

      A video of a very authoritative 4-year-old girl feeding six very obedient pit pulls in the middle of a kitchen has gone viral on the web and is prompting a heated debate about the pit bull breed.
      More>>

      8 fun things to do in Tampa Bay this weekend | January 17-18 Video included

      Updated:

      See 8 fun things happening this weekend in Tampa Bay!
      More>>

      'Birdman,' 'Budapest' top Oscar nominations with 9 nods each

      Updated:

      Two extravagant comedies, "Birdman" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel," tied for the most Oscar nominations Thursday morning with nine nods each, including best picture. More>>

      Out and About
      Powered by WorldNow

      200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

      Telephone: 813.228.8888
      Fax: 813.225.2770
      Email: news@wfla.com

      Can???t find something?
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      All content © Copyright 2000 - 2015 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.