Raiders vs chargers
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

 

New FSM Game Preview: Raiders vs Chargers – Week 13

Las Vegas Raiders (4-7) | Los Angeles Chargers (6-5)

Franchise Sports Media

 

The Raiders return home to Las Vegas and Allegiant Stadium for their second matchup with the rival Los Angeles Chargers. With both sides coming off thrilling late-game heroics in Week 12, who will set the tone Sunday in Sin City?

 

Raiders vs Chargers
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

A dozen weeks have come and gone since the Raiders and Chargers last matched up. Way back in Week 1, the Silver & Black traveled to their “home away from home” in Inglewood, California, where they ultimately came up short (primarily due to an influx of turnovers by the Raiders). Fast-forward to now, and neither side has performed at their anticipated levels. However, with both teams coming off wins in Week 12 via late-game heroics, what will be in store come Sunday in Vegas?

We all remember what happened (to the last security guards) last time the Bolts traveled out to Sin City; The Raiders rallied in the final game of the 2021 regular season to punch their postseason ticket while simultaneously eliminating their powder blue division rival. When the Chargers walk through the Allegiant Stadium doors this Sunday, they’ll undoubtedly have last year’s finale on their minds.

Still, with chagrin serving as a common theme between these hated rivals this season, both teams still have a mathematical chance to make the playoffs in the ever-hectic AFC. Basically, the Raiders and Chargers both have something real to play for (as if these two needed any extra motivation to bash one another).

With Raider Nation eager to return to the Death Star after two weeks on the road and Los Angeles/San Diego just a short drive away, Sunday’s energy levels will be all the way up. Let’s dive in.

 

Previous contests

 

HOF game: Raiders 27 – Jaguars 11
PRE1: Raiders 26 – Vikings 20
PRE2: Raiders 15 – Dolphins 13

PRE3: Raiders 23 – Patriots 6

WK1: Chargers 24 – Raiders 19 (L)
WK2: Cardinals 29 – Raiders 23 (OT)/(L)
WK3: Titans 24 – Raiders 22 (L)
WK4: Raiders 32 – Broncos 23 (W)
WK5: Chiefs 30 – Raiders 29 (L)
WK6: BYE
WK7: Raiders 38 – Texans 20 (W)

WK8: Saints 24 – Raiders 0 (L)
WK9: Jaguars 27 – Raiders 20 (L)
WK10: Colts 25 – Raiders 20 (L)
WK11: Raiders 22 – Broncos 16 (OT)/(W)
WK12: Raiders 40 – Seahawks 34 (OT)/(W)

 

KEYS TO THE GAME:

 

Carr vs. Herbert

Raiders vs Chargers
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

For the long haul, most experts would likely prefer Justin Herbert to Derek Carr. The 3rd year quarterback from Oregon is younger, more mobile, and has a stronger arm. Still, the two signal callers have had relatively similar seasons in 2022. Herbert is currently sporting a 19-7 touchdown/interception ratio, while Carr is at 18-7.

Carr has thrown for 2,730 yards in 2022, and on the other side, Herbert has produced 3,004 yards with his arm (good for eighth and fifth in the NFL, respectively). Both men have been sacked exactly 21 times this season.

In the Week 1 matchup between these AFC West foes, many pointed to Carr’s late turnovers as the reason for the Raider loss (three interceptions on the day). Without the picks, he and Herbert had nearly identical days. Since then, Carr has been able to keep his turnovers to a minimum (except for last week’s 1st quarter in Seattle). If DC4 can continue to protect the football, he’ll keep Vegas in a formidable spot to win their third game in a row.

 

Managing backfield threats

Raiders vs Chargers
Photo Credit: TQ/Franchise Sports Media

Naturally, the Chargers’ defense will have their sights set on RB Josh Jacobs, especially after his mammoth performance in the Pacific Northwest (303 all-purpose yards featuring a walk-off 86-yard touchdown). Of course, the Raiders’ offense has enough options around the formation to keep any opposing defense honest. On the other side, the Bolts have their own dynamic threat in the backfield: RB Austin Ekeler.

Ekeler skins the cat a little differently than Jacobs, utilizing his receiving skills on essentially every Charger possession. His rushing numbers are nowhere near Jacobs’ (554 yards to an NFL-leading 1,159), but Ekeler has done well to produce 497 yards through the air. Especially near the goal line, Ekeler and backfield-mate FB Zander Horvath are prevalent scoring threats.

So far in 2022, Herbert has thrown a combined seven touchdowns to Ekeler and Horvath (with Horvath scoring in Week 1 against the Raiders). Vegas will need to be aware of any delayed routes out of the backfield.

 

Coaching matchup

Josh McDaniels vs. Brandon Staley. Truthfully, both of these gentlemen have had tumultuous stints in their current posts. In Week 13, each side is coming off a win thanks to late-game offensive orchestration, so you’d think the respective coaches feel more confident after beating teams from the NFC West. Still, at this point, I have McDaniels and Staley as a draw. With that said, coaching decisions will be on full display in this one. We’ll see who separates themselves.

 

INJURY REPORT:

 

Below are Thursday’s (Dec. 1) practice participation sheets for the Raiders and Chargers …

Las Vegas – DT Andrew Billings (Limited – Fibula), RB Brandon Bolden (Limited – Calf), LB Darien Butler (Full – Elbow), QB Derek Carr (Full – Back), S Duron Harmon (Full – Shoulder), TE Jesper Horsted (DNP – Concussion), RB Josh Jacobs (Limited – Ankle), T Kolton Miller (Full – Shoulder), DT Kendal Vickers (DNP – Back), G Alex Bars (Full – Knee), G Lester Cotton Sr. (Full – Calf), LB Denzel Perryman (Limited – Wrist)

Los Angeles – S Nasir Adderley (Limited – Thumb), CB Bryce Callahan (Full – Groin), CB Michael Davis (Full – Knee), S Derwin James Jr. (Full – Hip)m C Corey Linsley (DNP – Concussion), LB Kenneth Murray Jr. (Full – Wrist), T Trey Pipkins III (DNP – Knee), OL Jamaree Salyer (Full – Knee), WR Mike Williams (DNP – Ankle).


WEATHER REPORT:

The Death Star (aka Allegiant Stadium) is a covered venue and climate-controlled. Outside on the streets of Paradise, Nevada, Sunday’s weather will be mild and partly cloudy. Forecasted temperatures are just above 60 degrees as Raider Nation is eager to return home after two weeks on the road.

 

In Week 13, the Raiders will return home to Vegas and Allegiant Stadium for their second matchup with the rival Los Angeles Chargers. Kickoff is scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 4, at 1:25 pm, with the game airing locally on CBS channel 8 (radio play-by-play on RNR AM920).

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-Gabe Santiago – Franchise Sports Media

Follow Gabe on Twitter & Instagram at @gps_onthemic

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