|Raiders rookie coach Dennis Allen will make his debut against the Chargers on Monday night. (US Presswire)|
Raiders vs. Chargers -- Week 1
Where: O.co Coliseum, Oakland, Calif. (grass, outdoors)
When: Monday, 10:15 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Spread: Raiders by 1
Forecast: Partly cloudy skies, light winds and a 10 percent chance of rain are in the forecast for Monday night's game. The temperature at kickoff is expected to be in the 60s.
2011 records: Raiders (8-8); Chargers (8-8)
Past results: Two most recent meetings -- Jan. 1, 2012: Chargers 38, Raiders 26; Nov. 10, 2011: Raiders 24, Chargers 17. Series record: Raiders hold a 57-45-2 regular-season edge and 1-0 postseason advantage.
What matters: Rookie coach Dennis Allen, the youngest coach in the NFL at 39, will make his debut and face a San Diego team that beat the Raiders in Week 17 last season to keep them out of the playoffs. From the moment new general manager Reggie McKenzie hired him, Allen has talked about building a smart, tough and disciplined team. We'll see how much progress Allen has made in his overhaul. This will also be a key measuring stick for new defensive coordinator Jason Tarver's attacking, multiple scheme and new offensive coordinator Greg Knapp's offense.
Who matters: Quarterback Carson Palmer and running back Darren McFadden will be on the field together in a regular-season game for the first time, giving Knapp a dangerous passer and runner and the ability to remain balanced. McFadden missed the final nine games last season with a sprained foot but proved during the preseason that he's 100 percent healthy. On defense, the Raiders' front seven -- particularly tackles Tommy Kelly and Richard Seymour -- will need to generate consistent pass-rush up the middle and force Chargers QB Philip Rivers out of the pocket.
Key matchups: Raiders right defensive end Matt Shaughnessy is known most for his rugged play against the run, but he'll be matched up against Chargers rookie left tackle Mike Harris and could have a big night rushing the passer. Harris, an undrafted rookie from UCLA, is filling in for the injured Jared Gaither. Chargers coach Norv Turner might need to have a tight end or running back help Harris on passing downs.
Injuries of note: Raiders backup WR Jacoby Ford, who is also the team's top punt and kick returner, will miss Monday night's game with a sprained left foot; he hasn't played or practiced since being injured Aug. 17 at Arizona. Starting WR Denarius Moore (hamstring) practiced Wednesday for the first time since Aug. 4 and will be a game-time decision.
Inside stuff: Keep an eye on free-agent pickup Philip Wheeler, an undersized but speedy strong-side linebacker. The former Indianapolis Colt is one of the team's most versatile defenders, and the Raiders are taking advantage of his ability to blitz, drop into coverage and stuff the run.
Connections: Turner served as Raiders coach from 2004-05. Raiders senior offensive assistant Al Saunders was San Diego's head coach from 1986-88 after serving as an assistant under Don Coryell.
Stat you should know: Palmer has a 122.5 career passer rating against San Diego with 13 TD passes and three interceptions.
Record watch: Shane Lechler needs 105 punting yards to surpass Ray Guy's team record of 44,493.
Bulletin board quote: “We are well aware of who knocked us out. We talked about that enough. We understand. We haven't forgotten what happened last year.” -- Carson Palmer on the Raiders' Week 17 loss to San Diego last year that cost them a spot in the playoffs.
Looking ahead: If the Raiders can beat San Diego, they'll have a great chance to start the season 2-0, with a trip to Miami set for Week 2. They need to bank some wins before a three-game stretch against Pittsburgh, Denver and Atlanta when their defense will face quarterbacks Ben Roethlisberger, Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan.
Prediction: Raiders 24, Chargers 21
Follow Raiders reporter Eric Gilmore on Twitter @CBSSportsNFLOAK.