Raiders vs Chargers: Lessons from Week 3 and How to Avoid Losing at SoFi again

The Raiders need to make some turnovers this week. They threw three interceptions and allowed four sacks. Vegas’ offensive line failed their first real test of the season.

There’s a lot of talk about Josh McDaniels’ choice to take points late in the fourth instead of trying to tie the game with a touchdown and two-point conversion. However, the real tragedy is how the Raiders gave up the ball. They are not a team that can afford that many turnovers. Plus, if Kenny Pickett tore up the Raiders wait til Justin Herbert gets his hands on us. We have not beat Herbert at SoFi.

The Raiders defense was sound against the run versus Pittsburgh. They get a hobbled Chargers rushing attack that is down their starting back. Los Angeles’ interior line hasn’t looked great either this year.

Still, the Raiders pass defense took some lumps versus Pittsburgh but a turnover or two could have helped them overcome some of those failed big conversions. Yet, Maxx Crosby once again was the only player to consistently get home and disrupt the Steelers offense.

Nonetheless, Josh Jacobs and the running attack were not much more effective versus the Steelers. Jacobs continues to cut and dodge his way but he needs more push from his interior offensive line. Some added push on those double teams will make Jacobs’ life easier. Not to mention, the Raiders can avoid some of the lapses in blitz pickup by avoiding obvious passing downs with more rushing yards on the first two downs.

Vegas will get another tough challenge at the edge this week. They can’t afford lapses in blitz pickup. Kolton Miller and Jermaine Eluemunor can both get beat by speed to power.

The Los Angeles Chargers will not be at full strength. Edge Joey Bosa didn’t practice all week. Running back Austin Ekeler and Derwin James are out. Receiver Mike Williams is done for the year. This franchise is gratefully more tragic than ours.

Raiders defensive Back Nate Hobbs, quarterback, Jimmy Garoppolo and edge Maxx Crosby are all questionable. My guess is the two defensive players go and the QB sits out. Garoppolo has been in concussion protocol all week. Vegas needs Crosby to play because he is the team’s only reliable pass rusher. Both teams have key players missing practice.

Even without Williams, Los Angeles can throw for 300 passing yards. Bolts quarterback Justin Herbert has played progressively better this season. Herbert threw for over 400 yards versus the Dolphins and hasn’t even thrown an interception this year.

On offense, the Chargers rank in the top five for passing yards. The Raiders’ improved defensive backfield must create a turnover this week. This will help them overcome any big plays they allow to an explosive aerial attack. Stopping the Chargers pass attack is a lot harder to do without Crosby applying consistent pressure. Los Angeles is not strong on the right side of the offensive line. Vegas must exploit them. Of course it would be great to have a healthy and sane Chandler Jones in the mix. However, he was finally let go after an arrest topped some weird public behavior that Jones began exhibiting online.

Defensively, the Chargers have allowed the most passing yards. Vegas is closer to the middle of the pack in passing yards but that should change after this game. The Raiders have to attack the middle and deep parts of the field with James out for L.A.

Los Angeles still has former Raiders edge Khalil Mack. He has yet to get into the sack column but that could change this week. Rookie Tuli Tuipulotu has two sacks. Those two could play more together with Bosa expected to miss. That’s enough explosiveness and bend to give the Raiders’ tackles some problems. Double the trouble if Jimmy G. does not end up playing as expected. Garoppolo is pretty good at avoiding sacks by dumping the ball out.

Even without Ekeler for two games, the Chargers are in the middle of the pack for rushing yards. Vegas is in the bottom ten for rushing yards allowed per game. Joshua Kelley is not exactly consistent but he brings some burst out of the Bolts’ backfield.

There is no reason the Raiders should be last in rushing yards. The Chargers are in the middle of the pack in yards given up on the ground this season. However, some of that could be attributed to the back forth nature of their games. Chargers linebacker Kenneth Murray looks better this year and they added Eric Kendricks to help them sure up the run. Kendricks may miss this game. Either way, Vegas should be able to run the ball.

Vegas should also receive another home field advantage at SoFi. Although, they need to do something with it. The team has yet to secure a regular season win versus the Rams or Chargers at SoFi. Not to mention, a win for either team cements second place on the AFC West. Plus, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley is playing for his job the way the media talks.

Nobody should be surprised if the Raiders lose this game. Los Angeles is a couple of plays in close games away from being 3-0. Both teams are hobbled but the Chargers have looked more explosive than Vegas.

The Raiders will also be without their starting signal caller. Meanwhile, L.A. is down two of their impact defensive players and several key offensive weapons. Overall, the Chargers might be a bit more desperate due to their coach being on the hot seat. Then again, Vegas should be just as desperate based off how Davante Adams sounded fed up after last week’s loss.

Regardless, the Raiders will be starting a rookie quarterback. They like how Aiden O’Connell can push the ball down field versus veteran Brian Hoyer. Adams has been effective even when the offense hasn’t been effective. They should get him the ball again early and often.

Vegas needs to establish the run game. Adams and his rookie QB will have more opportunities for big shots if the offense can stay ahead of the chains. This Chargers defense can easily get carved up on the ground and through the air.

On defense, the Raiders need someone else besides Crosby to make a play. Rookie Tyree Wilson looked more comfortable last week. He is getting closer to making some plays but he needs to get home. Either way, a turnover is necessary from any part of the Raiders’ defense.

Vegas can win if they run the ball, convert a deep shot or two, protect the ball, rush the quarterback and create a turnover. They must play classic Raiders football. Otherwise, they could be looking at a tough loss in front of a home crowd in Los Angeles.

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