It’s been a disappointing season for the Chargers, sitting on a 4-9 record, but the die was cast early. Their first six losses were all by seven points or less, and not getting any breaks in close games has left them as also-rans for this season.
On the other hand, the Raiders are still clinging to playoff hope with a 7-6 record though they have dropped three of the past four games – and their only win in that time was against the hapless New York Jets.
So, the Raiders appear to be heading in the wrong direction lately but this game has a whole lot more meaning for Vegas’ playoff hopes.
Here are some angles to consider for Thursday’s NFL action on Monkey Knife Fight:
Early in his rookie season, Herbert was piling up passing yardage so effortlessly that he was a safe pick for more than on a regular basis and he has recorded seven games with more than 280 yards passing. It’s become a little more difficult lately, though, as his past two weeks have seen him throw for 452 yards on 97 passes, which is a relatively insignificant total for a guy who was bombing downfield with ease right from the start. For their part, the Raiders have been getting better. Since allowing Herbert to throw for 326 yards against them in Week 9, the Raiders have held opponents to less than 260 yards passing in four of the past five games (with the only one going for more a certain Mr. Mahomes). Can the Raiders clamp down on Herbert? How about just a little.
Derek Carr LESS THAN 267.5 PASSING YARDS
As the Raiders have been losing, Carr has been throwing for more yardage. Strange how that works. In the past four games, the Raiders have lost three and Carr has passed for more than 270 yards in three of those games. He has passed that threshold seven times this season. The Chargers lose a lot, which factors in, but they also haven’t allowed a quarterback to throw for more than 250 yards since Week 5.
Josh Jacobs LESS THAN 66.5 RUSHING YARDS
An ankle injury has hobbled the Raiders runner in recent weeks, as he’s been held to less than 60 yards rushing in three straight games. He did run for 65 yards on 14 carries in a blow out loss to the Chargers in Week 9. The Chargers aren’t great against the run, allowing 4.6 yards per carry and eight running backs have run for more than 66 yards against them this season. Jacobs’ health is the overriding factor here.
Austin Ekeler MORE THAN 55.5 RUSHING YARDS
Ekeler is dealing with a quad injury but is coming off a 79-yard rushing performance against Atlanta, his most since Week 2. He has missed time with injuries but, when healthy, Ekeler is averaging 4.7 yards per carry and the Raiders run defense has been highly suspect, allowing 4.7 yards per carry for the season and they have allowed five running backs to rush for more than 55 yards – in the past three weeks! One more rushed for 55 on the nose. Assuming Ekeler is capable of handling his regular role, this Raiders defense should be ripe for the picking.
Keenan Allen -10.5 receiving yards vs. Darren Waller
Allen has been productive overall, averaging 75.0 receiving yards per game, but has been held to less than 55 yards in four of the past five games. He did, however, have nine catches for 104 yards against the Raiders in the first matchup between the two teams. Waller is an emerging force at tight end and while he’s averaging 62.8 receiving yards per game he has 75 yards or more in three of the past four games, so he’s closing the gap a bit lately but Allen has a much higher ceiling.
Austin Ekeler -0.5 receptions vs. Hunter Henry
Henry is a productive enough tight end, averaging 4.2 receptions per game, but Ekeler is a dual threat out of the Chargers backfield and has 24 catches in three games since returning from injury.
*The number listed in this article are subject to change at anytime leading up to kick-off*