The Raiders welcome the heated divisional rival Los Angeles Chargers in Week 18, and here is our final game preview and prediction for the AFC West matchup.
Given the chaotic nature of this 2021 season, especially for the Las Vegas Raiders, and hardly anyone outside of loyal Raiders fans would assume the Silver and Black would have a shot at a playoff berth.
Well, here we are. Week 18 is a battle between not only divisional rivals in the Raiders welcoming the hated Los Angeles Chargers this week, but what looks like a winner take all scenario as whoever wins the matchup will be headed to the AFC playoffs.
After a much-needed and shocking victory over the heavily favored Indianapolis Colts last week, the Raiders are looking to prove they have more left in the tank, as they push towards a do-or-die situation this week in Vegas.
Raiders take on Chargers for all the marbles
This game is one unseen in recent Raider memory. The Silver and Black have done their fair share of eliminating their playoff chances in the second half of seasons for what seems like an eternity now.
The Raiders have not appeared in a playoff game since 2016 — however, with a win over the Chargers, the elusive and what seemed like impossible playoff spot is now up for grabs for the Raiders on Sunday night.
What the Raiders will be facing is a team that has one of the most dangerous offenses in all of football in the Chargers. Led by second-year quarterback Justin Herbert, he has a slew of potent weapons surrounding him such as running back Austin Ekeler, and a dangerous one-two combo of wide receivers in Keenan Allen and Mike Williams.
The defense has truly benefited the Raiders as of late, and although the offense is not lighting up the scoreboard, it is the defense that even with injuries, Covid-19 struggles, etc. has given this Raider team much-needed life as the franchise has now won three straight contests. They have allowed 20 points or less scored in four of their last five contests.
Although this may be looked at as a defense vs offense battle, this is not entirely the case, as the Raiders will look to welcome back their top receiver in tight end Darren Waller this week. Last year’s Pro Bowl selection at tight end has been M.I.A for weeks due to injury, and looks to finally make his highly anticipated return this week in the season finale.
The Chargers can put up points, and points in a hurry. However, their defense has been suspect as of late, and this is truly indicative of their Week 16 humiliation to the Houston Texans. A team that is not only one of the league’s worst but managed to hang 41 points on Los Angeles.
The lack of balance in terms of offense and defense for the Chargers should play a huge role in this contest, and this reflects in the score prediction below.
Final Score: Raiders 31, Chargers 27