More Chargers Vs. Raiders Coverage
5 Things To Win: Chargers vs. Raiders
Cover Davante Adams
If you had Davante Adams on your fantasy team like I did last week, you’d know that he had an incredible game. In my league he got 42.2 points, propelling me further toward victory. Adams had 172 receiving yards against the Steelers with 13 receptions and two receiving touchdowns. Just like Justin Jefferson IS the centerpiece of the Minnesota offense, the same can be said of Adams for the Raiders. So the Chargers have to find a way to compete with him.
In last week’s game, there were a couple of plays where Jefferson got the best of the Chargers. During the second quarter, Jefferson had some big pickups of 34 and 25 yards. Then during the fourth, he had a reception and ran into open space, going in for a 52-yard touchdown, while safety Alohi Gilman chased after him.
Last year, Adams was covered by a lot of the Chargers defense, and according to Pro Football Focus, he got the most receptions and first downs in two matchups against the Chargers in Weeks 1 and 13. That was when covered by cornerback Asante Samuel Jr.
I expect Samuel to play a big role in the coverage again in addition to others who also were in coverage on him last year like safety Derwin James, linebacker Kenneth Murray, Gilman, and cornerback Michael Davis. I also expect safety J.T. Woods and cornerback Ja’Sir Taylor to have some Adams coverage duties.
As a note, James, Murray, and Gilman were all on the injury report when I wrote this, so it’s unclear yet if they’ll be playing.
Pressure The Quarterback
The Chargers pass rush has improved in recent weeks, led mostly by the efforts of edge rusher Tuli Tuipulotu, who had three sacks last game and holds the most sacks of the team (five). Jimmy Garoppolo was sacked four times on Sunday and still had 324 passing yards with two passing touchdowns. Garoppolo is currently in concussion protocol, so if he plays, the Chargers need to make sure they’re on their A-game to stop him from getting the ball to Adams. And if he doesn’t play, the same sentiment applies to his backup, Brian Hoyer.
Contain Josh Jacobs
The Chargers struggled all last season against the run and had a handful of explosive plays cripple them. Jacobs had 144rushing yards against the Chargers in Week 13 of 2022, complete with one rushing touchdown, and a crazy flea flicker where Derek Carr handed it off, Jacobs tossed it back, and Carr threw a bomb to Adams for a 45-yard touchdown in the third quarter.
Jacobs so far only has 108 rushing yards on the season and no rushing touchdowns. This is similar to last year, as he took a few weeks to kick into gear. The Chargers don’t want this to be the game where everything clicks and he demolishes them, so they have to find a way to make sure that the defensive line is tight. This would be the perfect game to have Eric Kendricks back, who’s been dealing with a hamstring injury.
Keep Justin Herbert Mobile and Protected
With the absence of Chandler Jones, edge rusher Maxx Crosby is the heart of the Raiders defense with two sacks on the year, 15 quarterback hurries, and nine solo tackles. Crosby had one sack in the 2022 Week 13 matchup against the Chargers along with one hit and six hurries.
The offensive line needs to be ready to contend against such a ruthless rusher. Herbert also needs to do his best to be as mobile as possible. In this last game, we got to see a few plays of Herbert moving out of the pocket, avoiding pressure, and making some great completions. The offensive line and pass protection also held up as there was only one sack. Having Herbert on the move and having his protection at the top of their game is going to be crucial.
Adapt the Offense to Run Without Mike Williams
I wrote a piece at the start of the week about the recent Williams injury, which was pretty devastating for the offense. On Tuesday the Chargers signed Simi Fehoko from Pittsburgh to the roster, so he’ll be an added depth piece to prop up that receiver room. How the Chargers contend against this Raiders defense without the weapon of Williams will be telling. If Quentin Johnston can carve out his place and Josh Palmer can have a repeat performance of his stats from last year, I do think they have enough to do well on this front, especially since they still have Keenan Allen.