It's Raiders week, so expect Philip Rivers to sling it

In 24 games against the Raiders, Philip Rivers has completed 64 percent of his passes for 6,055 yards, with 41 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports

COSTA MESA, Calif. -- One of the many things Philip Rivers has done well since taking over as the starter for the San Diego and now Los Angeles Chargers in 2006 is beat the Oakland Raiders.

Rivers has a career-best 16-8 record over the Silver and Black, including a series sweep last year.

In 24 games against the Raiders, Rivers has completed 64 percent of his passes for 6,055 yards, with 41 touchdowns and 18 interceptions. He has been sacked 41 times, posting a 95.4 passer rating all time against the Raiders.

Of course, you can also usually expect a close game when these AFC West rivals meet for the 116th time during the regular season on Sunday at the StubHub Center, with seven of the last 10 contests decided by eight points or less.

“Against those division teams, you want to play well against those, and hopefully have a good record against those guys,” Rivers said. “They've had different defenses and different coaches and things over the last 15 years, so I don't think there's anything to a certain scheme or anything like that, but hopefully we can keep it going.”

Through the first quarter of the season, Rivers is playing good football. His 11 touchdown passes through four games ties his best mark in 2013 for the most touchdown passes to start an NFL season. Rivers has thrown three touchdown passes in three of the first four games, and he has just two interceptions so far in 2018.

Rivers faces an Oakland defense giving up 30.8 points a game and that has allowed 19 passing plays of 20 yards or more.

Rivers has only been sacked five times through four games and appears healthy -- so much so the Chargers ran a quarterback sneak for a first down on fourth-and-1 against the San Francisco 49ers last week -- the first time Rivers ran a quarterback sneak since 2011, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

“It was good to do that,” Rivers said, smiling. “There will be more of that, maybe. It's never anything I've necessarily been against.

“It's just kind of the way things come up, and we've been a good short-yardage team -- it's either been full backs or doing some other things. We had to look last week going into the week of prep that we felt looked good and went for it.”

Rivers will face a team led by Jon Gruden for the just the second time in his 15-year NFL career. The Chargers played the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, led by Gruden in 2008, and won 41-24.

“He’s always been one of my favorite guys in the league,” Gruden said. “I had a chance to compete against him in the past, and I’ve had a chance to watch him prepare and practice behind the scenes in recent years.

“He’s fully committed. ... His preparation behind the scenes is legendary, really.”

Rivers said the way Gruden has re-energized Oakland is evident on game days.

“I always have had great respect for him as a coach, and getting to visit with him numerous times when he was, you know, in the broadcast booth of those production meetings and things and just talking football,” Rivers said.

“I've always enjoyed that. I respect him from afar and got to know him a little bit, like I said. I don't think personally it adds anything to it. But it will be good to look across and see him over there.”