The Los Angeles Chargers will host the Oakland Raiders on Sunday afternoon in Week 17. Here are the five Raiders to watch in this AFC West rivalry game.
There is only one game left for the Oakland Raiders in the 2017 NFL season. It will be against their division rival Los Angeles Chargers. While Oakland has been eliminated from playoff contention, the Chargers are fighting for their playoff lives on New Year’s Eve. Expect the Raiders to get the Chargers’ best effort in this one.
In their previous meeting back in Oakland in Week 6, the Chargers won on a last-second field goal by kicker Nick Novak. Though the Chargers have run through kickers like the Houston Texans do quarterbacks all season, Los Angeles could be the most dangerous wild card team to come out of the AFC should they make it.
Oakland is riding a rough three-game losing streak. The Raiders looked dreadful against the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead back in Week 14. Oakland came up a few inches short of getting it done at home versus the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday Night Football in Week 15. The Raiders nearly upset the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday Night Football on Christmas night in Week 16, but now they are 6-9 on the year.
Even in the last two games, we have seen several players on the Raiders play very hard. Their playoff chances faded down the stretch, but there are a handful of players that haven’t given up just yet. Here are the five members of the Silver and Black to watch in this 2017 finale versus the rival Chargers.
Passing the football was close to impossible in the Raiders’ last game versus the Eagles. Quarterback Derek Carr only threw for 140 yards. None of those yards went to wide receiver Michael Crabtree, who was held without a catch in the entire ball game. He’s not getting shut out in back-to-back weeks.
Though the Eagles secondary was swarming, Crabtree will have the toughest matchup of the year for him personally on Sunday. He’ll have to deal with shutdown Pro Bowl cornerback Casey Hayward, who has become a superstar in this Los Angeles defense. Getting open will be tough, but Crabtree should be able to haul in a few grabs by sheer determination.
Throughout the season, it seems that the Raiders’ passing game goes as Crabtree goes. He may have several dropped passes, but when he’s on, Carr plays better. Crabtree’s ability to move the sticks between the hash marks and get open in the end zone still makes him one of the most productive weapons on this Raiders offense.
Oakland will have to put up points to potentially upset the Chargers in a must-win game for Los Angeles. Crabtree usually garners touchdown grabs in bunches. It wouldn’t be shocking to see him have 75 receiving yards and two scores in this one, even if he’s matched up with Hayward for most of the ball game.