Matchups, prediction for Monday Night Football battle for the head of the division
The Los Angeles Chargers look as beautiful as we dreamed they are fighting against Las Vegas Adventurers on Monday night football. There’s no shortage of storylines in Chargers vs. Raiders, but we’ll focus on each positional clash to conclude who has the upper hand.
Los Angeles Chargers offensive against Las Vegas Raiders defense
Although they come across as one of the truly talented teams in the NFL, the Chargers are not statistically performing up to their reputation. They don’t direct the ball well, despite an offensive line that protects passing at an incredibly high level.
Meanwhile, the Raiders’ defense was propelled by their decent pressure ratings despite a blitz 4 times less than the league-leading Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Maxx Crosby, Yannick Ngakoue and Carl Nassib have made it difficult for attacking tackles so far in 2021.
Either way, this team ranks 11th in defensive efficiency after placing 28th in 2020. The secondary who couldn’t cover his passed out pal with a blanket last year is excelling this season.
Justin Herbert against the Raiders’ defense
Justin Herbert is one of the most physically gifted quarterbacks in the NFL. He has an absolute howitzer with a right arm, and his athleticism allows him to create out of structure and make shots that don’t make sense.
His sideline against the Dallas Cowboys in Cover 2 comes to mind. Defensive Player of the Month Trevon Diggs slowed down slightly, and Herbert launched a homing missile into the honeypot between Diggs and security.
Herbert continues to improve as a quarterback, but he’s played outside the norm so often that it’s impossible not to feel good about him week after week.
Weapons of the Chargers against the defensive backs of the Raiders
At first glance, it seems like a win for the Chargers. However, with the way the Raiders secondary has worked so far, that projection becomes more difficult.
Keenan Allen is arguably the best road runner in football. Mike Williams flourished with Herbert throwing the soccer ball at him, and the team no longer just uses him as a 50/50 catcher. However, Jalen Guyton isn’t necessarily a mouth-watering third option up front, although Jared Cook can always contribute.
Conversely, Trayvon Mullen performed well opposite Casey Hayward Jr., and rookie Nate Hobbs came out of nowhere like Randy Orton, RKOing the NFL with a great performance early on. The fifth-round pick has received more snaps in every game so far in 2021.
Still, attacks will have a slight edge over competitive defense just because it’s so difficult to defend in the NFL.
Chargers offensive line against the first seven Raiders
This is the area where a tie goes to defense. Rashawn Slater has been nothing short of exquisite as a rookie left tackle. However, lining up Storm Norton on the opposite side – which will see a healthy dose of Crosby – could be of concern.
By that I mean this is a particular clash that could change the outcome of this Monday night game. Things could get that ugly.
Crosby has been incredible so far in 2021, even though he hasn’t recorded a sack since week 1. If the Chargers don’t send Norton meaningful help on Monday, that number could rise by an amount. from Chandler Jones Week 1.
Los Angeles Chargers defense against Las Vegas Raiders attack
The Chargers’ defense ranks 22nd in efficiency so far in 2021, but that’s not necessarily a good barometer of their capabilities. Of course, the Washington football team has little to fear in attack, but its other two opponents were the Chiefs and Cowboys.
It won’t be much easier in Week 4. The Raiders scored 33, 26 and 31 points respectively in their first three games. All of these encountered defenses that were not meant to be full dumpster fires.
What I’m saying is Jon Gruden has this offense cooking. By that I mean Derek Carr and the wide receivers are having a horrible running game across the finish line.
Derek Carr vs. Chargers defense
It’s entirely possible that no quarterback has played better football than Carr in 2021. It’s hard to argue that anyone comes close if we rule out his horrific first half against the Ravens.
No one is better with the game at stake than Carr. These are the facts. Carr is clutch. He produced more expected points than anyone in football in the last four minutes of games. This season he did it every week.
Derwin James may be the best security in the league in good health. Asante Samuel Jr. looks great as a rookie, but Michael Davis struggled on the other end.
Raider weapons versus Chargers defensive backs
Henry Ruggs III appears to have stepped under him in the second year. Hunter Renfrow might be the best pure slot machine in all of the NFL, and Bryan Edwards and Carr became clutch buddies late in games.
Then there is Darren Waller. It is arguably the biggest cheat code in the NFL. Waller is a top receiver despite being 6-foot-6 and 255 pounds. It’s a monster. And even though he’s only hit 14 targets in the last two games after receiving 19 in Week 1, he’s still ready to explode.
All I want is to see Waller and James go there for about 65 shots. Just give me this thing from this game, and the rest is absolute sauce.
Raiders offensive line against the Chargers’ top seven
All good things come to an end. The Raiders’ offensive line was the main reason I thought they would be a disappointing team in 2021. Somehow it didn’t affect Carr enough to make them lose a game.
Kolton Miller was good, but the rest of the line struggled mightily as a unit. They can’t run the ball, and videos of sheer defensive domination continue to clog the Twitter timeline.
The Chargers don’t have much on the defensive line other than Joey Bosa. This makes things a bit easier for the Raiders – they can focus on a player instead of a unit. That’s why we shouldn’t be surprised if Bosa is having a statistically disappointing year.
Still, I can’t help but think that this is a stopable force encountering a moving object. In this regard, equality comes down to defense.
Bet line and game prediction
The Chargers are 3.5-point favorites against the Raiders in Monday Night Football. If we only look at the advantages of each team, it seems like a hotly contested game.
If the seasons for the Raiders and Chargers are any light on what we can expect on Monday, it will be an incredibly close game.
Still, I think the Raiders’ pass rush has the biggest advantage against the Chargers offensive line. Because of this, and because of Carr’s incredible late-game heroism, I expect the Raiders to not only cover, but outright win the game.
Prediction: Raiders 28, Chargers 27