TheLas Vegas Raidersare riding a three-game winning streak, and one more win will likely get them into the playoffs. But the LA Chargers have the same opportunity in this clash of bitter AFC West rivals on Sunday Night Football from the Strip in Las Vegas.
The Chargers were a preseason pick to make a run at the Super Bowl but now they are fighting for their playoff lives.The Los Angeles Chargers have not had the kind of season many pundits expected them to and have not been able to string together more than three wins at a time on the season. The Bolts boast a top-five offense in the NFL and score almost twenty-eight points per game. The Chargers' offense does most of that damage through the air. The Bolts average two hundred seventy-seven yards per game passing and only one hundred and nine yards rushing. Second-year phenom Justin Herbert slings it for almost three hundred yards per game leads the bolts passing offense. He connects on nearly seventy percent of his passes and has thirty-five touchdowns against fourteen interceptions. He can use his legs to add to his game and has a little more than three hundred rushing yards and three touchdowns on the ground.
The receiving corps is dynamic, led by perennial pro-bowler Keenan Allen, and Mike Williams is an excellent complement to him on the other side. Leading rusher Austin Ekeler has 847 yards, including a modest 53 yards per game with 11 touchdowns. He is a weapon receiving out of the backfield and sixty-five balls for more than 600 yards and seven touchdowns through the air. Ekeler does not produce many long runs, however. He has only three runs longer than twenty yards on the season and none more than forty yards. The receiving core is dynamic and led by pro bowler Keenan Allen.
The Chargers' defense is in the bottom third of the league. The defense was supposed to be a strength for the team, especially with Joey Bosa on the defensive line, but the voltage from that unit has been low this season, and there just have not been that many electric plays on defense. The Bolts' defense ranks near the league's bottom in points per game (26.5), yards per game rushing (147), and are the worst third-down defense in the league
Can the Raiders Win Baby Win and squeak into the playoffs?Despite a season full of devastating news, a coach resigning under a cloud, a key player killing someone (in a fatal DUI), another player leaving the team after threatening to kill many people on social media on video, Covid induced game reschedules, other key players missing due to injury and now another player, corner Nate Hobbs being arrested for DUI – the Raiders with a win over the Chargers can clinch the last AFC playoff berth.
Don't look now, but the Las Vegas Raiders are riding a three-game winning streak and are on the cusp of a playoff berth. The Raiders were treated like roadkill by the NFL pundits after another embarrassing dismantling by the Chiefs month ago, but since then, they have held their opponents to just fourteen, thirteen, and twenty points. During that span, they have allowed, on average seventy-eight, yards rushing per game and a total of two hundred and eighteen total yards per game. To put this in perspective, the best defense in the league against the run is the Tennessee Titans, who allow eighty-five yards per game.
The defense allowing the least total yards per game is the Bills, who allow two hundred and eighty-six. The team that allows the least points per game is the Patriots at sixteen-point nine. During the three-game streak, the Raiders have allowed 16.6.
The Las Vegas Raiders defense during the last three games, it can be argued, is statistically better than any other team in the NFL. The first two games were against a browns team depleted by Covid issues and a Broncos' squad led by backup QB Drew Lock. Still, the Raiders just beat one of the hottest teams in the NFL, the Colts, on the road and held the likely league MVP, Jonathan Taylor, to one hundred and twenty-two yards and one touchdown, a quiet day for any star running back. The Raiders during that streak also limited all of their opponents to less than one hundred and fifty yards passing. That is a better average than any defense in the NFL on the season. The Raiders offense has been unspectacular but is scoring just enough to win behind a re-energized Josh Jacobs at running back (who, despite missing a significant amount of time and touches, has 750 yards on the season and eight touchdowns).
Slot receiver Hunter Renfro has been clutch, leads the team in receptions, and seems to always be there for the critical third down. Renfro is ranked seventh among receivers in the NFL with almost 100 receptions and more than one thousand yards, and seven touchdowns. It appears that the Raider's most potent offensive weapon, the freakish-athlete tight-end Darren Waller, will be back for the Raiders after missing three weeks with a knee injury.
Raider Quarterback Derek Carr who is having a great season and early in the year was leading the league as a passer, will be thrilled to have Waller back in the fold. Waller is a game-changing tight-end like Kelce or the 49ers Kittle, a matchup nightmare for defenses. Waller averages five-point three receptions per game and has missed seven games. If he caught his average, he would be the second-best tight end in the league, ahead of Kelce and Kittle and just behind Mark Andrews, who leads tight ends in the NFL with ninety-nine receptions, according towww.fftoday.com/stats.
- Raiders are 5-1 ATS in their last six games after allowing less than 150 yards passing in their previous game.
- This year, the Raiders are 6-3 ATS when playing as at least 3-point underdogs.
- This season, Los Angeles has won eight games against the spread while failing to cover eight times.
- The Chargers have an ATS record of 3-5 when playing as at least 3-point favorites this season.