Quarterback Philip Rivers has played against the Raiders 28 times in his NFL career, but you certainly wouldn’t call them friendly rivals.
The 39-year-old Rivers had an 18-10 record against the Silver and Black as a member of the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers and is facing them for the first time with his new team, the Indianapolis Colts, on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
There are huge playoff implications for the Colts (8-4) and Raiders (7-5) in the AFC wild-card race.
“Having gone against this defense and being in the division a few times, you certainly know they know me and I know them,” said Rivers, who will pass John Elway of the Denver Broncos for the most quarterback starts against the Raiders.
“Whatever tweaks and things that they may do, it’s more kind of in that chess match from me to them and them to me, also and collectively to our offense. I think there is little combination of that, but I don’t see that there is necessarily a real advantage, either way, other than it’s allowing you to go, ‘Man, 29 times against the same franchise is pretty cool.”
Rivers not only has the most wins against the Raiders than any other quarterback but has thrown for 7,103 yards and 47 touchdown passes against the Silver and Black.
Those numbers are better than greats such as Elway, Len Dawson of the Kansas City Chiefs, Joe Namath of the New York Jets, Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins, and Dan Fouts of the Chargers posted against the Raiders.
“Rivers has more fun playing football than most guys that I know,” Raiders coach Jon Gruden said. “He has a passion about him that’s rare and I know he wants to beat us in the worst way.
“He has a disdain for the Raiders. He’s made that perfectly honest to me in the last three years I’ve been back on the sidelines, so it’s great to see him playing well and we look forward to competing with him also.”
The Raiders swept Rivers and the Chargers with a 26-24 victory on Oakland and a 24-17 triumph in Los Angeles last season, so Rivers is looking for a little payback.
Defensive coordinator Paul Guenther of the Raiders knows what to expect.
“He’s getting (the Colts) in and out of plays at the line of scrimmage,” Guenther said after watching game film. “It looks like they are running a lot of plays that he’s familiar with, both from a run and a pass standpoint. Getting the ball out of his hand a little bit faster and those types of things. But he’s a competitive guy, you got to love the guy’s attitude and all those things. He’s a fun guy to go against, so it’s a good challenge every time we play this guy.
“It helps with the skillset. Like I said, they’re running some plays maybe that he might have run with the Chargers along with some of the stuff they did in Indy in the past. It’s a combination of both, and it looks like the plays maybe Indy had prior to coming here, he’s adapted to those plays. So, he’s just playing at a high level. He can get them in and out of good plays, so there are not really many bad plays at the line of scrimmage, and he’s seen just about everything. So again, this will be a big challenge for us. It’s a big game.”
Rivers has completed 290-of-626 passes this season (64.8 percent) for 3,269 yards and 18 touchdowns with nine interceptions.
The Raiders got defensive end Clelin Ferrell back from the Covid-19 list last Sunday and he had two strip-sacks against quarterback Sam Darnold in a victory over the New York Jets on the road.
“I think it will give him a lot of confidence (going against Rivers),” Guenther said. “Kind of breaking through there, having two strip-sacks like that in one ball game can only build his confidence up. So, he’s doing a good job both inside and outside for us, and hopefully, he can continue on that trend because we’re going to need him.”
Especially against Rivers.
Tell us what you think in the comment section below and please make sure you like our Facebook Page WHEN YOU CLICK RIGHT HERE.
Want the latest breaking Las Vegas Raiders news delivered straight to your email for FREE? Sign up for the DAILY Raiders Nation newsletter when you CLICK THE FOLLOW button on the main page. Don't miss any of the latest up to the second updates for your Las Vegas Raiders when you follow on Twitter @HondoCarpenter, @HikaruKudo1