As you know here at Layerz we are made up of two Raider fans and one Charger fan, so we’ve been talking trash about this game all week, so we decided to put some thoughts into an article for tonights game instead of the usual picks and predictions which will instead come tomorrow.
What will the Raiders biggest strength be against LA?
T: The offensive line. The run game has been there all season and Josh Jacobs has been an amazing back for the Raiders. Not only are they opening holes for Jacobs, but Derek Carr has the least touches of any quarterback in the league. The Line has been all that has been dreamed about and minus the injuries has not had anything able to stop them.
A: I’m definitely going to have to agree with Tariq on this one. Jacobs and Carr have proven they are formidable forces but they both will go as far as this offensive line carries them. If Hudson and Brown are healthy, I believe this line will dominate the Chargers front seven and can control the tempo of the game like we have all year.
D: It’s going to be the run game. The Chargers have a killer pass rush but have seriously lacked in the run game. Just go look and see what the one dimensional Bears did to us with David Montgomery.
Tariq we have a bet on who will have a better season RIvers or Carr, how do you feel about that now?
T: The fact that Derek Carr has 13/4 TD/INT ratio and Rivers has 12/7 ratio makes me feel pretty good. Carr has been performing solidly with much less WR talent and Rivers looks a little “elderly” now. His propensity to throw that YOLO ball is still there with even less arm strength is all i need to see. They have been turning up lately, but so far he hasn’t been as impressive to me.
A: Carr has played really well this year further proving the notion that if you can protect your qb he will succeed regardless of his weapons on the outside(or lack thereof). He is in the top 10 in every major passing category outside of yardage, and that is due in large part because he has 100 less attempts than the Qbs at the top (ie Rivers).
D: I am definitely more worried than I thought I’d be. The play calling definitely hasn’t helped Rivers, where as Gruden’s play calling has lifted Derek Carr. Hopefully with our new offensive coordinator Rivers numbers will improve. I’m still betting on Rivers.
The Raiders have been surprisingly competent, while the Chargers have proved to be the opposite sans last week. Who do you feel is more likely to make the playoffs?
T: Right now I will say the Raiders, but this Thursday game matters to the Chargers. If they can steal this one, they can get back into the playoff picture. The Raiders have an easy 2nd half of the season, so winning this and the next 2 ( Bengals the Jets) will help ease them into at least the 6th seed.
A: No one can say they are as surprised as I am to see the raiders at .500 halfway through the season. I saw us as a 6-10 team after the AB situation, which can still happen but like Tariq said our schedule is highly favorable excluding the Chiefs game in Kansas City. It all starts with this game though so not to cop out but it’s safe to say that whoever wins this game is a virtual lock for the 6th seed.
D: Like Anthony I believe that the winner of this game has the inside track on the sixth seed and to counter Tariq I don’t think the Raiders would be “stealing” this game, this is a fairly equal matchup and you’re favored. So with that said, the Chargers because they’re going to win tonight and I’m a homer.
If Brown is out this week, how will the Raiders stop the Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram tandem?
T: Surprisingly, David Sharpe has performed pretty well as the replacement tackle. He probably will rarely be left 1 on 1 with either Bosa or Ingram, but if he does Derek has done a good job getting the ball out fast and early. Also, the threat of a Jacob’s run is always there any down. The Raiders do a fantastic job of using him to get easier down conversions and a great quick pass game to limit pass rushers.
A: Trent Brown has been hurt in damn near every game this season and David Sharpe has exceeded expectations without a hitch. I’m more concerned on Rodney Hudson’s condition because Andre James didn’t snap a single ball above Carr’s knees last week. Rodney is also so damn smart that he’s basically a second QB on the field and you can’t teach experience which Rodney has plenty of.
D: I don’t think you do regardless. The tear Bosa has been on won’t be stopped by anyone but an injury, especially when the two are lined up on the same side, it’s a nightmare. The only thing that can save the Raiders is Derek Carr’s ability to get the ball out in .02 seconds.
Would you rather face Melvin Gordon or Austin Ekeler?
T: The one that has been producing? I’m kidding, but Melvin Gordon has only done well last game. He is a more traditional RB and the Raiders can stop the run at least. Ekler on the other hand is an amazing receiver, and nobody on the Raider’s LB unit can stop him. Hopefully the Chargers are dumb, and only utilize Melvin Gordon again this week.
A: Well I’m sure we will see a lot of both of them so it doesn’t really matter. Gordon and Ekeler have both had big games against us in the past but our run defense has seemingly been more stout this season so we shall see.
D: Gordon has improved of late. But, give me Ekeler, he’s been electric and I like him as a receiver considering all the injuries we have had. Hopefully the team gets smart and starts to use the both of them on the same play, maybe put Ekeler in the Travis Benjamin role. I guarantee he’s be great at it.
Bigger concern this week: Keenan Allen or Hunter Henry?
T: Both? My god we cannot stop anybody. I’m afraid of both, but I would lean more to Hunter Henry. We can at least bracket Keenan Allen, but nobody on the team has the height and speed to cover Hunter Henry. Karl Joseph is too small, Erik Harris is too ass, and Nicholas Morrow is the only competent player we can get on him.
A: I’ll say Keenan Allen and that’s not to take anything away from Hunter Henry but Allen is a different beast when it comes to separation. Tight ends haven’t been as big of an issue this year as they have in the past but like Tariq said, I’m sure they will both put up big numbers.
D: I think it’s Allen. The Lions receiving core shredded you guys last week, and there isn’t a better receiver in the game at creating separation than my guy KA.
Josh Jacobs expected output?
T: 110 and a TD. It has been hard to stop him all season and injuries or not he has all the ability in the world. He has been a grinder and he is the heart of the Raiders offense. If he gets at least 20 touches this will be easy enough, as the interior of the Chargers is less threatening than the edges.
A: If I’m being honest I have no idea how good or bad this chargers run defense is. The Raiders have faced some good front sevens like the Vikings, Bears and Texans and Jacobs still outshined them. I believe he could go for another 120 and 2 game like he’s done the last two weeks.
D: This isn’t an exaggeration 180-200 yards and 2 touchdowns. The Chargers rush defense is broken and I’m not falling for whatever that was last week.
Thoughts on Chargers to London?
T: That was not going to happen and was just a funny maybe that was toss around. The Chargers have never been the home team in their home games. They aren’t loved in LA, they weren’t loved in San Diego, and they may not be loved wherever else they go. That’s what happens when your most redeeming player is million kid Philip Rivers
A: Spanos shut it down almost immediately but what are you going to say as an owner of a team that puts more opposing fans asses in the seats than his own. Did you expect him to say yes we are in negotiation with the NFL on moving to London when they have PSLS to sell next year in LA? Personally, I think it’d be hilarious if the Raiders played “London Calling” as the Chargers come out of the tunnel, similarly to how they played “viva Las Vegas” for the Raiders in LA.
D: It’s stupid. The road travel would be brutal, plus I always believed if anyone went to London, it’d be the Jags. Also, do you really think our incredibly cheap owner is going to pay the relocation fee twice?
Better to come into a season hopeful or expecting to lose?
T: Well I am a Raider fan so i usually don’t come in hopeful. But, personally I like to be pleasantly surprised, then have a let down. I don’t know, as my team is never usually as a contender. I have seen Drue pull his hair out though, because of the Chargers. That never seems fun.
A: I always enter the season with guarded hope and I still manage to get let down. As I mentioned earlier I saw us as a 6-10 team because of how good the Chiefs and Chargers were last year and the AB situation didn’t help. 6-10 could still happen but my hope has gained momentum as the weeks have passed. I suppose you can’t be let down if you expect to lose. Look at Niner fans, you think any of them expected an 8-0 season after going 4-12 last year? Now that all the Niners fans have come out from hiding, I’m sure you can find at least one fan who will be honest with you about their expectations for the season.
D: You can’t be hurt when you expect to lose. But here’s the thing if I can have a year where I believe I’m going to win, I’m ready to get hurt. Football is passion and it’s hard to be passionate when you know you’re going to lose, so I’ll take the million tiny stab wounds from the Chargers.
Anthony: Raiders 27-23
Drue: Chargers 31-28
Tariq: Raiders 24-21