Originally written on Sports-Glory  |  Last updated 11/19/14

SAN DIEGO - OCTOBER 03: Antonio Gates of the San Diego Chargers looks on during the game against the Arizona Cardinals at Qualcomm Stadium on October 3, 2010 in San Diego, California. The Chargers defeated the Cardinals 41-10. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Chargers vs. Raiders

Week 1 of the NFL season will conclude with a late Monday Night Football battle between the home Raiders and the visiting Chargers. NFL odds opened this game as dead even, however now, the home Raiders are favored by -1.

The Chargers come into this game with a slightly different feel to the team compared to seasons past. It almost feels like everyone is playing for their jobs. Norv Turner was brought back much to the dismay of some Chargers faithful, but the Chargers have reloaded to some degree, and should be ready to take on the season.

One of the biggest factors contributing to the measured optimism around San Diego this season is the health of Antonio Gates. Reports out of Chargers camp is that Gates looks and feels better than he has in several years. Even though injury and age has made him lose a step, he is still going to be the most targeted receiver in the red zone for Phillip Rivers this season.

Now, if only the Chargers can keep Ryan “Glass Man,” Matthews healthy and on the field. Matthews returned to practice on Monday, catching passes out of the backfield, but he is still listed as doubtful for this game, and I would be very surprised if the Chargers put him on the field in Week 1.

The Chargers have a great shot at getting a win, despite being without their best running back. If Phillip Rivers can remain accurate and not throw interceptions, the Chargers will win this game. I like San Diego’s defense much more than Oakland’s, and I think that will be a deciding factor late in this game.

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