Las Vegas Raiders X-Factors against the Chargers in 2022 Week 1
Defense and takeaways
It’ll be difficult to shut down any offense in the AFC West, but that doesn’t mean you can’t force the ball out of your opponent’s hands. Las Vegas paired emerging star Maxx Crosby with future Hall-of-Famer Chandler Jones to create a formidable dual-pass rushing attack.
The Raiders also traded away Yannick Ngakoue and netted Rock Ya-Sin in return, to bolster the secondary. All of these movies will be for naught if the Raiders’ defense can’t generate takeaways.
Last season the Raiders ranked 29th in the NFL in defensive takeaways with just 15 on the season. Quarterback pressures and sacks will help gift Carr and the offense more opportunities, but giving them better field positions will go a long way in winning games. The lack of defensive takeaways means that the Raiders’ offense will more often than not start drives close to their own territory.
It’s hard to imagine this Raiders defense “shutting down” Justin Herbert on Sunday, but getting the ball out of his hands will do wonders for Las Vegas. In last year’s season finale the Raiders defense picked Herbert once through the air and brought him down three times for a total loss of 28 yards.
If Las Vegas can net one more interception and a fumble, the Raiders upgraded offense should be able to capitalize on a moment’s notice.