Starting the season on the road is one thing.

Having to do so against an AFC West opponent is another. Yet, the Raiders are still starring down Justin Herbert and the super-charged Los Angeles Chargers offense in Week 1. And it’s a game that Raiders head coach Josh McDaniels views as one that should count for two.

“Division games, that’s the first thing we have to try to accomplish when you set out for your goals during the course of the season, it’s trying to compete and win your own division,” McDaniels said. “So, we know these almost count double in the standings, if you will. We’re trying like heck to get to know these guys now.”

Last season, the Raiders and Chargers met in what became an instant classic, where if both teams tied, they would have each made the playoffs.

That didn’t happen.

And though this is a different team from last year, a bit of that has to still linger in the minds of the Raiders organization, right?

Well, not really. At least where McDaniels is concerned.

“Everybody’s season was riding on what happened in that game and I thought we had a lot of players that made some individual plays that were really important to the outcome, and so did they,” McDaniels said. “The two teams now are different. We’ve watched that game, we’ve seen it. As you know, the scheme on their end may be a little bit more similar to that game than ours will be. But I think there’s been so much change relative to the personnel on both sides. They have a new team, we have a new team like there is every year. As I said, we’re looking forward to competing on Sunday.”

Game planning for the Chargers’ talent

“They’re two incredible football players, and again, I can say that about a lot of guys on their team,” McDaniels said. “We have to do a good job of trying to get the ball out on time when we’re supposed to. You pick your spots when you’re going to try to do something and hold the ball longer, or what have you, based on the play you’re trying to accomplish. This is a big challenge. They present a lot of issues offensively on their own and so seeing them on the same field obviously will be difficult, but we’re hard at work trying to figure out how to create some offense against their whole group, but they’ll definitely be a challenge.”
Sunday will be the first test for the Raiders. However, having it be an AFC West opponent makes the test a little harder.
We’ll see if Las Vegas can hold its own soon enough.
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Feature image via  Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports.