The Las Vegas Raiders enter the weekend contest against the Los Angeles Chargers after picking up a hard-fought victory over the Clevland Browns last week. Our staff at Silver and Black Today provide their predictions for the Raiders vs. Chargers Week 9 matchup.
The Raiders vs. Chargers matchup pits Las Vegas (4-3) against Los Angeles (2-5), in the first of three consecutive AFC West matchups for the Raiders. It’s a crucial stretch for Jon Gruden’s squad as they get their first look at the highly-touted rookie quarterback, Justin Herbert.
So far this season, the Chargers have moved the ball quite regularly on offense. But defensively, they’ve allowed more fourth-quarter leads to slip away than any team in the NFL.
Friday’s injury report indicates the Raiders will be shorthanded along their defensive line once again. Defensive tackle Maurice Hurst (ankle) and defensive end Arden Key (foot), are both listed as out for Sunday’s game against the Chargers. Meanwhile, safety Jeff Heath (hip), running back Josh Jacobs (knee/illness), offensive tackle Kolton Miller (ankle) and cornerback Trayvon Mullen (hamstring), are listed as questionable. Gruden stated at his Friday press conference that Miller will be a game-time decision.
Similar to the Raiders, the Chargers are banged up as well. Defensive end Joey Bosa and running back Troymaine Pope are listed as doubtful, while they recover from concussions. Cornerback Casey Hayward (calf/NIR), defensive end Isaac Rochell (neck), offensive guard Trai Turner (groin), safety Jahleel Addae (hamstring) and cornerback Brandon Facyson (illness), are listed as questionable.
Here are our staff predictions ahead of the Raiders vs. Chargers Week 9 matchup:
Scott Gulbransen, Publisher/Founder
While every game in the NFL is an important one — especially when you’ve made the playoffs once in the last 17 years. The game against the Chargers is vital to this franchise if they want to seriously make a run at a Wild Card playoff berth. The Chargers have had historic fourth-quarter meltdowns four times this season and the Raiders’ offense seems to be firing on all cylinders. The Raiders’ defense hasn’t proven a thing, although it’s coming off a better performance against the Browns. I think Derek Carr, Darren Waller and Josh Jacobs have a big day but so will Justin Herbert. Look for an old-school Raiders vs. Chargers AFC West showdown. If you’re betting, take the over 51 as the Raiders top the Bolts. Raiders 31, Chargers 28
Moe Moton, Sr. NFL Columnist
Both teams could go into Sunday’s game with notable absences in the trenches. The Los Angeles Chargers have listed defensive end Joey Bosa as doubtful. He’s in the concussion protocol. The Las Vegas Raiders may take the field without three starting offensive linemen — Trent Brown (reserve/COVID-19), Richie Incognito (IR), and Kolton Miller (ankle), who’s a game-time decision. Derek Carr’s improved scrambling ability can mask potential lapses in pass blocking. Both Carr and Justin Herbert are performing at a high level this season, but the Chargers have struggled to close out games. Along with the 20th-ranked scoring defense, Los Angeles averages just five fourth-quarter points (second-fewest) this season. Meanwhile, as we saw last week, the Raiders have a closer in running back Josh Jacobs. He’ll be the difference between these dueling offenses Sunday in a classic Raiders vs. Chargers matchup. Raiders 37, Chargers 35
Nick Cothrel, Staff Writer
The Raiders finally got back to their identity last week, feeding running back Josh Jacobs 30-plus times. I think the Raiders’ approach should stay the same despite not having to deal with snow as they did last week. After establishing the run, implementing a healthy dose of play-action passes — specifically to Henry Ruggs III — is something the Raiders need to start doing in order to take their offense to the next level. In the five games in which Ruggs has played, he’s only caught 10 passes. He’s clearly been underutilized thus far, but I’m predicting this is the week he officially gets let loose. On the other side of things, the Chargers are no stranger to scoring points either. Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert looks like a rising star in the league, and because both teams are set to showcase so much firepower on offense, I’m expecting a healthy dose of points. Raiders 31, Chargers 27
Chris Engelage, Staff Writer
I fully expect this game to be an old-fashioned Raiders vs. Chargers wild west shootout. The offense for the Raiders has been in a groove and Derek Carr is balling whether you like it or not, the numbers don’t lie. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said about the defense. In my opinion, last week will prove to be the anomaly as poor weather conditions put a mask on what has been a pathetic unit all season. That said, I see the Chargers and rookie sensation Justin Herbert continuing to put up points, just not enough to win. I’ll take the Raiders in a high-scoring game. Raiders 37, Chargers 30