NFL Power Rankings Week 16: Raiders Clinch Playoff Berth, Giants Climb

Toby Graves
December 19, 2016

Oakland Raiders tight end Mychal Rivera makes a catch against San Diego Chargers outside linebacker Kyle Emanuel on Sunday. It could have been as many as 80 percent. The Raiders couldn't turn the turnover into a touchdown, but they did tie the game at 16.

"We've got to protect the ball", Coach Mike McCoy said. Loud and proud. We love it.

This would seem to follow the template of the controversial 1996 relocation of the Cleveland Browns to Baltimore.

All that Silver and Black backing the Raiders (11-3) provided a surreal atmosphere to the game, which might be the Chargers' second to last in San Diego after 56 seasons. This was a Chargers team that rang up 31 points and 423 yards in the first meeting in Oakland but was held to 16 and 263, respectively.

Showing little regard to gender, Raiders partisans also let The Charger Girls dance team have it with sounds from the Bronx, despite the squad's introduction as the "hottest" such group in the NFL. The Raiders lead the all-time series over their longtime divisional rivals 62-50-2.

San Diego fans have been asked to absorb a lot this season. This has led to home games for both the Chargers and Cardinals seeing a ton of fans from visiting teams. Under California law, the measure needed two-thirds of voters to approve it, so the Chargers could be playing in Los Angeles as early as next season if they decide to act on their option to move by the January 15 deadline. Some news organizations reported the move Sunday as a near certainty.

The Raiders will look to continue their success at home on Christmas Eve next week, hosting the Indianapolis Colts, a team vying for their right to playoff football, and trying to fend off elimination.

Raiders quarterback Derek Carr wasn't at his best.

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"We knew we had to get to Philip if we wanted to win", Irvin said, "and that's what we did".

Oakland's slow and steady pace was enough for them to topple a strong but undermanned San Diego squad, who lost their starting left tackle not long after the second half began, and who are already without their top receiver. The Raiders hadn't had a winning season since that fateful year, suffering through 10 campaigns with five wins or fewer in that span.

On a day when points were at a premium, kicker Sebastian Janikowski was a ideal four-of-four on field goals, adding an extra point too. It dates to 2000.

The Chargers were leading, 16-13, with less than 14 minutes remaining. But Sunday's game was different.

Derek Carr was 19 of 30 for 213 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. While the St. Louis Rams ended up being the first team to make the move, the Chargers were given an option this year to relocate and join the Rams as a tenant in the Inglewood stadium being built by Rams owner Stan Kroenke.

"I expected to go to the playoffs when I got here", Irvin said.

Don't be surprised if Osemele winds up an All-Pro.

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