The Los Angeles Chargers will now travel to face their division rivals in Las Vegas after a close win against the Cardinals. When these two teams met in Week 1 the Bolts came on top 24-19. Both teams look vastly different mostly due to injury. So this should be an interesting matchup. The Raiders also snuck out of an explosive game against the Seahawks last week. So this should also be a fun one. Let’s break down what the Chargers need to do to win this key matchup.
Matchups to Watch
Raiders Offense vs Chargers Defense
This matchup is as straightforward as it gets. How will the underperforming Chargers defense stack up against a Raiders offense which has found its rhythm the last few games? They’ll be in a good position to keep their streak going against the Bolts, who have allowed 412.7 total yards per game in their last three games. Vegas has a top-ten offense, scoring 24.1 points per game, averaging 363.5 total yards per game, including 240.7 passing yards and 122.8 rushing yards. Even with the injuries to Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller the Raiders’ offense is still a threat.
Asante Samuel vs Davante Adams
Due to injuries, Davante Adams can be the sole focus of the defense. He torched the secondary in Week 1 for 141 yards and a touchdown. Adams sees roughly 11 targets a game. This offense is built around getting him the ball. Asante Samuel will need to step it up in terms of the red zone, he’s allowed the third most touchdowns when in coverage this season per PFF. It’s almost a guarantee Derek Carr will be looking Adams’ way as he’s currently got the second most touchdowns this year.
Raiders Pass Rush vs Chargers Offensive Line
The Raiders’ defense has struggled to get to the QB this season. They rank 30th in sacks per game and 30th in takeaways per game. The Chargers on the other hand have a good offensive line this season allowing the 5th fewest sacks allowed. It will go a long way if Justin Herbert has a clean pocket this game and is able to find his man downfield and that’s set up perfectly for him. If the Raiders pass rush can’t get to him, expect Herbert to air it out all game.
Keys to Win
Limit the run game
Josh Jacobs had the best game of his career last week against the Seahawks. He totaled 303 total yards of offense. The LA defense’s main area of weakness is stopping the run. Running the ball keeps the clock going, thus dictating the game on their terms which is not ideal for a struggling offense. Jacobs was underutilized in their first matchup. It’s unlikely that will happen again, so it should be a priority to contain Jacobs. Having the defensive ends seal the edge is a good strategy to limit the run as well as contain Derek Carr.
Safety help against Davante Adams
As mentioned, Adams will likely continue his streak against the Bolts. Putting him one on one with Samuel might not be the best idea so having a safety double him should be the game plan. Similar to Travis Kelce vs Derwin James, it’s a high-volatility matchup that could decide the game.
Stats to know
The Chargers have allowed 150+ yards of rushing in their last five games.
Their offense ranks 30th in rushing yards per game
Six of the Raiders seven losses this season have been by one score
The Raiders are averaging 156.3 rushing yards per game in their last three games.