The Chargers are set to face the Raiders with several key starters set to be out.
Corey Linsley is going to be missed as he’s being placed on IR with a non-emergent heart condition. Derwin James and Austin Ekeler are both doubtful and it’s not likely Brandon Staley risks putting them both behind in their recovery with a bye coming up the following week.
The Raiders may be without starting quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo as he’s been in the concussion protocol most of the week. If that’s the case, we’re feeling a bit better about the Chargers’ losses.
Let’s go ahead and dive in to the predictions.
Michael Peterson: The Chargers finally broke through for their first victory of the season in Week Three over the Vikings. Just like the prior two games, it was dramatic and suspenseful until the very end.
It would be VERY cool if the Chargers could simply win this one handedly over a Raiders squad that could be without starting quarterback Jimmy Garoloppolo. Through three weeks, the Raiders only spark of offense has been via wide receiver Davante Adams. As one of the premiere wideouts in the NFL, he’s going to get his against the Chargers, but any way the Bolts defense can help shut him down at all would go a long ways, especially when their ground game has been almost non-existent behind Josh Jacobs (108 total rushing yards).
I have a feeling that J.C. Jackson could be a healthy inactive once again if the Chargers truly feel he’d be a liability against Adams.
Do I dare pick in their favor again? I know I’m going to catch flak if I do and they proceed to lose, but whatever. Go Bolts.
Final Score: Chargers 27-23
Kyle DeDiminicantanio: Wow, a lot can change in a few hours. Before this last injury report came out I was feeling very, very confident in this game. Now, I’d be lying if I said I was fully confident in the team’s ability to rise above Corey Linsley’s absence. The safety situation is also going to be interesting to monitor, as JT Woods has already been confirmed as OUT for the game, and Alohi Gilman and Derwin James Jr. both appeared on the injury report and will be game-time decisions.
Although Austin Ekeler could return from injury and help add a spark to the offense, I’m really hoping we see a virtuoso performance from Justin Herbert. Despite the injuries to the defensive backfield, the Chargers’ defensive front and linebackers are essentially intact. Expect the pass rush, surprisingly paced by Tuli Tuipulotu, to set the tone and put plenty of pressure on whoever is behind center for the Raiders. The Chargers will likely give up some explosives with their reserve safeties filling in, but Herbert will continue to answer the bell with a marquee performance.
Quentin Johnston breaks out in place of Mike Williams, and the Chargers manage to get back to .500 before a much-needed bye week.
Final Score: 35-24
Ryan Watkins: There is never a better equaliser than both teams being asked to explore the depths of their rosters. Week 4 is early for 11 starters to appear on the injury report (not including Mike Williams on IR) but that's where our Bolts have ended up all too often. The Raiders have their fair share of injuries too so it's going to come down to who is the better built team. That's system, scheme, coaching, and whilst Staley rightly has his critics, I believe this staff have the edge over McDaniel's team.
Stopping Adams and Jacobs is going to be the entire game, Jacobs hasn't looked himself this season but there is no doctor for poor form like the Charger's run defense and the tendency for their secondary to allow explosive passes is something you don't want to see against someone like Adams. I wouldn't expect good things from this banged up defense normally however if Garopollo isn't able to suit up, Hoyer's very low ceiling means the run game will be seeing heavy boxes at the very least so I think the depth players will be enough to slow down their two pronged attack enough if not in a dominant fashion.
On the other side of the ball if Crosby doesn't play there is very little defensive talent to slow down Herbert and Moore's offensive but as Ekeler is unlikely to feature the run game will need to improve drastically to be a true dual threat. I don't see this happening with the way Kelley is running the rock and so the short passing game will be relied upon again with Everett playing an important part against a run focused set of linebackers.
Overall even with the injuries The Chargers offense has too much for the Raiders' defense to handle and I'm thinking a Hoyer led offense (the most likely scenario) won't be enough to match up over four quarters.
Final Score: Chargers 27-17