Los Angeles Chargers vs. Las Vegas Raiders: start time & how to watch
Break down how the Chargers (9-7) and the Las Vegas Adventurers (9-7) will face off before their game at 5:20 p.m. PST Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas. The game will air on NBC.
When the Chargers have the ball: When those teams met in October, the Chargers’ offense scored 28 points but produced just one play that gained over 22 yards. It happened on a short, close pass from Stephen Anderson, which turned into a 34-yard gain. And that’s how teams can be successful against a Las Vegas defense that tries to limit big plays and force attacks to be patient. Justin Herbert finished 25 for 38 for 222 yards. The 5.8-yard-per-attempt mark is his third lowest for a game this season. Of Herbert’s six worst efforts in yards per attempt, the Chargers lost five, with a 28-14 victory over the Raiders being the exception. “When you go up against a team like this, that doesn’t mean you won’t have some big, explosive plays,” said offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi. “But if you chase them too hard, you can get behind the sticks. So, you know, don’t be afraid to check out the ball. It could mean a lot of work for running back Austin Ekeler, who scored twice against Las Vegas in the first meeting. Keenan Allen also received a series of short passes from Herbert, catching seven balls but totaling just 36 yards. Expect more of the same.
When the Raiders have the ball: Derek Carr is one less goal and 13 fewer passing yards this season than Herbert, who was named the AFC’s Pro Bowl starter. The two threw 14 interceptions, the big difference being in touchdown passes – Herbert has 35 to Carr’s 21. “Derek has been a role model,” Chargers coach Brandon Staley said. “I think he’s been a real rock for this football team.” Carr’s favorite target is wide receiver Hunter Renfrow, who has 99 catches for 1,025 yards and seven touchdowns. “We found out where Renfrow is,” said security Derwin James Jr. “He’s an opening guy.” The Chargers will counter with a secondary that remains intact for a second straight week after a season plagued by injuries and absence from COVID-19. With all the pieces in place, the Chargers are able to move James throughout the defense and build on his versatility while looking for lags to exploit. “It gives you options,” said defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill. “This is the most important thing.”
When they kick: Dustin Hopkins has made 17 of 18 field goal attempts in 10 games for the Chargers since signing him following his release by Washington. This is the highest single-season winning percentage (94.4%) in franchise history. The Chargers’ other special team in season – Andre Roberts – returned a 101-yard kickoff last weekend for a touchdown. “These two guys,” Staley said, “are just a breath of fresh air.” Las Vegas has a weapon in Daniel Carlson, who is 35 for 38 on placement trials, including five for six from 50 yards and beyond.
Jeff Miller’s prediction: It will be the most important game in the NFL during the regular season. The Chargers must win or draw to advance to the playoffs. As fun as it may be to predict a 24-24 final, let’s try to face the real world. After extremely inconsistent times in 2021, the Chargers open 2022 by moving on.
LOADERS 27, RAVIERS 20