QUOTE TO NOTE:"You have to trust the things you believe in. That's not going to change now." - Coach Norv Turner as he prepares for what is likely his last game as the Chargers' head coach.


NFL Team Report - San Diego Chargers - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

The Chargers could be in a pickle at running back.

Ryan Mathews didn't practice Wednesday or Friday with a calf injury. He was joined on the sidelines by Mike Tolbert on Wednesday and Thursday because of a hamstring injury.

To add to the woes, the Vikings plucked rookie running back Jordan Todman off the Chargers' practice squad on Wednesday.

The team signed Shawnbrey McNeal and put him on the practice squad. Depending on the health of Mathews and Tolbert, McNeal might even be active. He was in the Chargers' camp the past two summers.

In other news, linebacker Bront Bird was placed on IR with a knee injury. Bird made his contributions on special teams.


--OLB Travis LaBoy (knee) didn't practice this week after missing Saturday's game and was ruled out for the season finale.

--WR Vincent Jackson (groin) sat out of practice Wednesday and Thursday after gingerly getting through the last game. He returned Friday and is probable, but with the Chargers out of the playoff picture and Jackson soon to be an unrestricted free agent, he could sit on Sunday. If he goes, he may not be 100 percent.

--RB Ryan Mathews (calf) was a limited participant on Thursday and sat out Wednesday and Friday. He should be able to start Sunday, but might not finish the game.

--RB Mike Tolbert (hamstring) finally was able to practice on Friday and is probable.

--OLB Shaun Phillips (back) was a limited participant Thursday before returning in full for Friday's session. He should be able to start Sunday.

--LB Andrew Gachkar (hamstring) was a full participant all week and should contribute on special teams Sunday.

--LT Jared Gaither (ankle) took all the practice snaps and is a go for Sunday.

GAME PLAN: This could be fun, with the Chargers possibly treating this like a college team playing in a bowl game. Pull out all the tricks, try all the gadget plays, do anything and everything to stick it to the Raiders' defense.

The Chargers figure to go out swinging, using every weapon at their disposal as they play with house money. So Philip Rivers will be given every chance to exploit a Raiders unit that is ranked 29th in total defense and points allowed. The Chargers are going to try and win this with their strength, which is heaving the ball down field.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Chargers running game, with Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert vs. Raiders run defense which has been bad. Mathews didn't go off last week, with the Chargers saddled with an early deficit to the Lions. But if his ailing calf allows, the Chargers would love nothing more than for Mathews to finish with a big game to build his confidence over the offseason. Tolbert is ailing, too, which could restrict his carries. But the Raiders have to prove, at some point, they can stop a running game. The Chargers' interior line has another big challenge this week in taming DT Richard Seymour - he always seems to play well against the Chargers, dating to his time in New England. But the key is slowing LB Rolando McClain.

Chargers run defense, with ILB Donald Butler and Takeo Spikes, vs. a Raiders running game led by Michael Bush. Any good run defense is strong up the middle and the Chargers have had issues with Butler and Spikes. It's not that they are horrible, it just seems as the game wears on, and they wear out. In Bush, he is the typical bruising running back which gives the Chargers fits. In this season's earlier matchup Bush rushed for 157 yards and a score; added 87 more yards through the air. With Bush sitting at 911 rushing yards, the Raiders will be eager to get him to 1,000.