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San Diego Chargers Face Bitter Rivals in Season Finale
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Despite neither team being in postseason contention, Sunday’s season finale at Qualcomm Stadium will still be of great importance for one main reason.
It’s Raiders week.
Every member of the Chargers roster recognizes that the game takes on extra meaning when it’s against their bitter rivals in silver and black.
“We’re in the same division and we’re located rather closely to one another,” said Philip Rivers. “It goes back a long time. I know the fans and the state of California get fired up about it. And it just so happens it’s the last game of the year this year, and it was last year too. But I remember in high school the last game of the year was always a rivalry game. You could be 1-9 playing an 0-10 (team), and it was exciting. Obviously the case with these two teams, we’ve both had seasons we didn’t anticipate, but it’s a game both teams will be ready to go.”
Sunday marks the 107th meeting between the Chargers and Raiders. While Oakland leads the all-time series 58-46-2, the Chargers have dominated lately. San Diego has won two in a row and 15 of the last 18 in the series. That includes 13-straight wins from 2003-09.
Takeo Spikes is in the middle of his 15th NFL season, but he says no rivalry matches the one the Chargers have with the Raiders.
“It’s personal,” said the veteran linebacker. “I’ve learned that. It’s one thing to hear about it but (another) to actually see it and play in the games…It’s a personal deal.”
Danario Alexander joined the Bolts midway through the year, so he has yet to experience first-hand the Chargers-Raiders rivalry. But based solely on the way the team has practiced this week, he senses just how important and intense this game will be.
“I’m getting the feeling that it’s pretty extreme,” he said. “A lot of people ask me how I feel about it and if I’m excited about it, and I am real excited about it. It’s kind of like, if you don’t win this game, it’s a hard way to go out. So I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be a pretty big challenge.”