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Previewing Raiders-Chargers win-and-get-into-the-playoffs showdown

Derek Carr (Getty)
Raiders QB Derek Carr

In what is the biggest game for the Raiders since moving to Las Vegas in 2020, Derek Carr and company need a win against Justin Herbert and the Los Angeles Chargers to secure a playoff spot. The Raiders have won three straight games, including two buzzer-beating field goals from Pro Bowl kicker Daniel Carlson, and are looking to make the playoffs for the second time since 2002, a year in which the Raiders lost to the Tampa Bay Bucs in the Super Bowl.

New3 Las Vegas sports director Bryan Salmond joined NSN Daily on Friday to preview the game, which was moved to Sunday Night Football's primetime spot. The Chargers beat the Raiders in Los Angeles earlier this season.

"I absolutely feel like the Raiders can win this game," Salmond said. "It's generally pretty difficult to beat a team two or three times in a season. You have to try to change something up. They know what they need to fix in order to win the game. So the Chargers beat the heck out of the Raiders in L.A. I was at that game, which there were more Raider fans in the stadium than Charger fan. So when they come here, I think the Raiders have somewhat of the mental advantage. They also are going to have their fans in the stadium for the biggest game ever for the Las Vegas Raiders franchise."

After Jon Gruden was fired by Mark Davis earlier in the season following emails containing racist and homophobic language being released to the public, special teams coach Rich Bisaccia currently holds the interim head coach title. Salmond said Carr's leadership in the wake of Gruden's firing and Henry Ruggs' DUI/reckless driving arrest has kept the team alive.

"You've really got to give Derek Carr credit," Salmond said. "He's a leader of that team. Every week he's come out since Jon Gruden, since Henry Ruggs and says 'Hey, listen, you've got to compartmentalize that. I still love both of those guys. I've got a job to do. I have to win a game. It doesn't matter what happened outside of the football field because we've still got to go play. You still have to win. We're based on wins and losses.' He's really been very, very even keel. Derek Carr has done an amazing job of keeping this team on a nice, level emotional playing field."

The Raiders-Chargers game will air on Sunday Night Football on NBC with a 5:20 p.m. kickoff. Former Reno Aces and Nevada Wolf Pack broadcaster Ryan Radtke also will be on the Westwood One radio call.

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