It went down to the wire, but the Los Angeles Chargers were able to find the win column for the first time last weekend. With the first one out of the way, LA will be back home, playing host to one of their divisional rivals, the Las Vegas Raiders. We’ll preview the game before going over which side I’ll be backing for my play.
The Raiders' first primetime game of the season and the first one of the Jimmy Garoppolo era did not go as planned, losing to the Steelers 23-18. Not only would Las Vegas lose, but after the game, Garoppolo was placed into concussion protocol, with his status this weekend not looking good. The new Raiders signal-caller went for 324 yards on Sunday night, but he would throw three interceptions.
Through the first three weeks of the season, the Raiders rank 11th in pass-play percentage, but with Brian Hoyer likely under center this week, that number could change. With a backup likely getting the nod at quarterback, the Raiders will need to figure out some way to get their rushing attack working, as they enter this week 29th in rushing attempts and 32nd in yards.
There will be a chance to get some sort of offense going this weekend since the Raiders will take on a Chargers defense that has put up a negative EPA in all three games they’ve played. No team has allowed more passing yards than the Chargers, and a big reason for that is they are allowing an average of 7.9 yards per passing attempt.
LA’s defense, mixed with Brandon Staley’s questionable decision-making, could have burned them again this past weekend, but luckily for them, Justin Herbert has played at an MVP-caliber level to start the year. Herbert went 40-47 with 405 yards and three touchdowns in their 28-24 win over the Vikings.
Herbert will be without one of his top receivers for the rest of the season since Mike Williams unfortunately went down with a torn ACL last weekend. This means alongside Keenan Allen, the Chargers offense will need guys like Josh Palmer and Quentin Johnston to step up since LA is 5th in the league in passing attempts per game.
The Chargers are currently listed as (-5.5) point favorites, and I’ll be backing them for my play. LA’s defense is a real concern, but they catch a break this weekend with a backup quarterback likely lined up against them. Regardless of their defense, I think it will be difficult for Vegas to keep pace with the Chargers offense.
Justin Herbert and the Chargers offense have put a positive EPA in all three weeks, including a (15.21) EPA last weekend. Now they get to play a Raiders defense that struggled against the only other legitimate offense they’ve played. The Raiders are 15th in passing yards allowed per game, and when they played a pass-heavy Bills offense in week two, they had an (-18.01) EPA on pass plays.
It’s been announced that Brian Hoyer will start if Garoppolo can’t go, which limits what Vegas can do in the passing game. Davante Adams is averaging 8.7 yards per target up to this point, and I don’t think that number is sustainable with Hoyer under center. The Raiders are also averaging just 61.7 rushing yards per game, and even if Josh Jacobs does get going, that won’t be enough to keep pace with the Chargers passing offense.
Los Angeles Chargers (-5.5)