The Chargers would love to earn their first division title in Tom Telesco’s tenure, and that ultimately starts with winning their divisional games. The Los Angeles Chargers (-5.5) have a great opportunity to win their first such game this weekend against a struggling Las Vegas Raiders. (+5.5).
DraftKings Sportsbook is starting their lines heavily in favor of the Bolts, but the Raiders have some disruptive forces that could certainly break this game open. Here are the top matchups to watch out for in this game.
Josh Jacobs and the no good, very bad run defense
This is a little tongue-in-cheek, but it’s the truth. The Chargers’ run defense hasn’t proven thus far, and despite early struggles the Raiders’ lead back won the rushing title last year. The Chargers have also shown in their last two games that even teams with struggling rush offenses can find success against the Bolts.
Alexander Mattison only rushed for 61 total yards in two games before putting up 93 yards against the Bolts. Derrick Henry gained a combined 83 yards and no touchdowns on the ground in Weeks 1 and 3, but gained 80 yards and a touchdown against us in Week 2.
Jacobs only has 108 yards rushing through three games. It’s plausible to believe he could match his season total in one game against the Chargers. Preventing Jacobs from having his first break-out game of the season would go a long way in restoring the fan sentiment in Brandon Staley.
Davante Adams vs. Michael Davis, Asante Samuel Jr.
Is there a more consistent star than Davante Adams? He’s on his third starting QB in his career and has never dropped below a PFF score of 87.8 since reaching that mark in 2018. He’s even sitting on a three-year streak of being in the 90-plus club, hauling 365 receptions, 4,666 yards, and 45 touchdowns in that span.
Adams is likely catching passes from a backup quarterback this week, as Jimmy Garoppolo is currently in concussion protocol. However, Garoppolo has struggled so far with the Raiders, and that didn’t stop Adams from making 13 catches for 172 yards and two touchdowns last Sunday against the Steelers. Neither Vato nor Zont will be tasked with following and shutting down Davante, so both are going to have to be prepared when he’s on their side of the field.
Maxx Crosby vs Trey Pipkins
We can probably assume that we the Raiders will attack the offensive line on Sunday. Maxx Crosby will likely be shaded over Trey Pipkins the majority of the game; even though he’s one of the best pass rushers in the league, it doesn’t make sense to forgo that matchup to see if he can best one of the league’s premier left tackles in Rashawn Slater. It’s hard to imagine Austin Ekeler rushes back from his ankle injury with the bye week on the back side of this game, so Los Angeles has to be prepared to not have Justin Herbert’s personal protector in the backfield.
Maxx’s playing intelligence is as impressive as his raw skill. Kellen Moore can try to confuse him with some unique play designs, play actions, and draw plays, but Crosby excels at putting himself in an advantageous position against his blocker before committing to a pass rush or run stuff move based on what happens in the backfield. He’s a dominant force in all aspects of the game.
Trey will likely get some chips from a tight end here and there, but he was re-signed to be a veteran anchor on this line. Let’s hope he can earn his keep this weekend!
What matchups are you excited to see this weekend, BFTB?