Raiders vs chargers
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FSM Game Preview: Raiders vs Chargers – Week 4

Franchise Sports Media

 

The Las Vegas Raiders are back on Monday Night Football as they take on their division rivals the Los Angeles Chargers and look to stay undefeated on the season.

 

Raiders vs Chargers
Photo Credit: Trisha LaCoste/Franchise Sports Media

The Raiders return to Monday Night Football once again but this time it will be on the road (kind of) as they travel to Los Angeles to battle AFC West foe, the Chargers. Both teams enter this prime time showdown coming off impressive wins the previous week and are looking to keep their momentum going forward adding another W to the win column in this long-lasting rivalry that dates back to 1960.

The Raiders lead the series against the Chargers 66-55-2 with their total points over those games 2705-2679. The rivalry is close and this year it follows along those same lines as both of these teams are off to hot starts for the 2021 season. Las Vegas is 1st in yards per game (492.3) and passing yards per game (401), while the Chargers are 10th (394.7) and 4th (318) in those categories respectfully.

Both teams are doing damage through their air, but are struggling to find consistency on the ground as both are near the bottom of the league in rushing yards per game. The Raiders are ranked 25th (91.3) and the Chargers are 26th (87.3). With both teams providing excellent offense attacks, this is the question; which team’s defense will be able to make the adjustments that could be the tipping point in who comes out victorious?

While each team has shown they can be explosive on offense, both have also shown that they can hold up on the defensive side as well. The Raiders are 15th in points against this season (72) while the Chargers are 7th (60). The Raiders have racked up 7 sacks so far on the season with 1 interception while the Chargers have 5 sacks and 3 interceptions of their own. As the saying goes, offense puts fans in the stands, but defense wins games.

 

Can the Raiders keep things going and continue to show this season they are a different squad then before?

 

Raiders vs Chargers
Photo Credit: David Becker/AP

Off to their best start in 19 years, the Raiders have impressed many so far this season with two overtime wins at home and the dreaded east coast morning game vs the Steelers. But the season is still young and many still hold reservations. Is this team legit or just front runners? One easy way for them to tip the scales in their favor is to gain a victory over their rival. The Chargers were coming off an impressive win in Kansas City over the Chiefs, just like the Raiders coming home after a big win on the road against the Steelers. Las Vegas got out of the gates slow against Miami, so the question is will the Chargers have that hangover as well after leaving everything on the field at Arrowhead Stadium?

Early NFL MVP candidate Derek Carr continues to look phenomenal running the offense and is keeping everyone engaged as he spreads the love through the air. The Raiders have four players with over 200 yards receiving on the season, Henry Ruggs (237), Darren Waller (224), Bryan Edwards (210), Hunter Renfrow (204). No other team in the NFL has more than two. With this many options, the Raiders are always keeping their opponents guessing on where they’re going with the ball which creates countless opportunities and has been a big factor in their 3-0 start.

While the Raiders boost a dynamic offense, they will have to hit on all cylinders against the Chargers’ offense led by quarterback Justin Herbert. In only his second year in the NFL, Herbert has shown he’s one of the best young players in this league and one to keep your eye on. With a quarterback rating of 97.9 (Carr is at 101.4), Herbert himself can also spread the ball around to some explosive weapons that the Silver and Black defense will have to try and stop. Wide receivers Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are one of the best duos in the league and running back Austin Ekeler is a threat both running and catching the ball out of the backfield. Former Raiders tight end Jared Cook is also finding his groove nicely with his new team thus far in 2021.

 

With so much offensive fire power, the defense will have its hands full trying to get stops.

 

Raiders vs Broncos
Photo Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

While both teams have shown they can put points on the board through three weeks of play, can either defense be able to step up and make crucial stops to keep the momentum in their team’s favor? The Chargers have some playmakers that the Raiders offense has to make sure to key on if they wanna continue their scoring ways.

Defensive end Joey Bosa is one of the league’s top pass rushers and can always wreak havoc on a team’s offensive line and backfield. Safety Derwin James has solidified himself as one of the better all-around safeties in the league with plays made in pass coverage and the run department. Rookie cornerback Asante Samuel Jr is forging his own path as his father did as a premier playmaker with two interceptions on the season so far. This is a young but explosive front for the Chargers, who can make plays. But they’ve also allowed all three opponents they’ve faced so far to score at least 20 points, so there is room for the Raiders to score on this unit.

The Raiders themselves have a respectable crew to match their Los Angeles counterparts and they’ll be doing so with some familiar faces. Former Chargers head coach Gus Bradley is now the Raiders defensive coordinator. Former players for the Bolts who are now dawning The Shield are linebacker Denzel Perryman, who leads the team in tackles, and cornerback Casey Hayward who has been the leader for the secondary.

But it’s not just former Chargers players who are making plays. The defensive line, led by Maxx Crosby and Yannick Ngakoue has been a real problem for opposing quarterbacks so far. Both players have shown they are the anchors of a solid unit and that the team doesn’t need to send blitzes to apply pressure on the quarterback. That type of production has allowed the Raiders secondary to flourish and not allow the big down-the-field plays as in years past. Players like Trayvon Mullen have benefitted from such play up front as he has been able to solidify himself as the CB the team feels comfortable matching up against the opposing team’s top wide receiver most of the time.

This unit as a whole is playing with energy, confidence, and swagger. They are beginning to show week in and week out that they are confident lining up against any offense.

 

The first matchup within the division on prime time television will be another chance for the Raiders to showcase how serious they are for the 2021 season.

 

One of the most respected franchises in all of sports, the Silver and Black hasn’t had much success over the last 20 years and are still looking to get back to where they once were among the elite in the NFL. This will take time and wins. So while being 3-0 is a great start, 4-0 would be even better. It won’t be easy, but with the understanding that coach Gruden and this team need to right the ship sooner rather than later, Raider Nation is excited to see that the foundation is built to get this team back where it belongs. For now, let us focus on taking on a longtime rival and claiming our first victory within the division in prime time.

 

The Raiders and Chargers on Monday Night Football are scheduled to kickoff Monday at 5:15 pm at SoFi Stadium. ESPN will be televising the game, check your local listings for the channel number.

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-Kalani Lua – Franchise Sports Media

 

Follow Kalani on Twitter @klua11

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