It’s week 13 and the Raiders are back on tap.
These teams played in week one and it was the Chargers that came out on top 24-19 in a revenge game that had been circled in red on the calendar ever since the clock ticked out in overtime of their season-ending bout almost a year ago.
As we have to expect just about every week, this matchup will likely be filled with suspense, drama, excitement, and several other emotions that Chargers fans tend to go through each and every week.
Below are the three biggest things I’ll be watching for when these teams take the field in Las Vegas,
1.) Will Michael Davis get the chance to shadow Davante Adams or will Asante Samuel Jr. get another round vs. the All Pro?
After taking over for the injured J.C. Jackson, Davis has played admirably for a guy who had just recently lost his job to the new guy in the locker room. This past week, he allowed three-of-six targets his way to be completed for just 36 yards while mainly defending DeAndre Hopkins. He posted one of his best coverage grades this season (66.8) while also recording a rare sack on Kyler Murray and a season-high two pass breakups.
Adams has been on a tear all season and was the author of a 141-yard, one-touchdown stat line against the Chargers in their first matchup. He’s coming off a performance against the Seahawks where he was held to 74 yards on seven catches, so it might be a good idea for the Chargers to study that tape and see just how Seattle was able to put that much of a cap on the former All-Pro.
2.) Can Khalil Mack repeat his week one performance against the Raiders?
Mack wasted zero time introducing himself to the Chargers faithful and showing them exactly the type of player he could be now that he’s in the powder blues. He posted three sacks and three tackles for loss, including the final forced fumble on Carr that ended the game and sealed the victory for the Chargers.
Since then, Mack has recorded just four sacks and seven tackles for loss. He’s never gone more than three games without a sack since the beginning of the year and he’s currently two games removed from taking down a quarterback. History tells us he’s bound for a sack on Carr and the Chargers are sure going to need that elite level of play, especially without Joey Bosa this time.
3.) Will the offense break out of their first quarter rut and finally stop stressing out their fan base?
This is about as straight-forward as it gets. This tendency to disappear in the first quarter, pop off in the second, survive in the third, and then vanish once again in the fourth actually started in week one against Las Vegas.
The Chargers scored three in the first, 14 in the second, and then a lone touchdown in the third was the last time they got in the end zone that day before they were basically hanging on for dear life through the final 15 minutes. For the sake of their fan base, it’d certainly be nice if they could simply NOT do that this upcoming Sunday.
Keenan Allen exited that game before halftime hit and the offense just wasn’t the same, especially when Mike Williams was held to just 10 yards through the air. This time around, with Allen in and Williams expected to miss another week, I expect the offense to look a bit better with their WR1 on the field from (hopefully) start to finish.
Allen has 143 yards and a touchdown on 10 catches since returning from injury and I expect him to get back to his double-digit catches this week against a divisional foe.