On Thursday night, the Las Vegas Raiders will play host to division rival Los Angeles in a matchup of two 5-8 teams. The season has gone off the rails for both teams, and you can expect major changes coming this offseason for both organizations.
For the Raiders, the defensive side of the ball has long been an issue for the franchise, but that trend is changing in 2023. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham has done an outstanding job getting his team ready to play on a weekly basis, and in Week 14 against the Minnesota Vikings, they downright dominated.
In fact, the Raiders defense was so active that the Vikings had to bench starting quarterback Joshua Dobbs for backup Nick Mullens. Unfortunately, while the defense continued to get stops all game long, the offense could not capitalize, and finished the game with zero points.
Thursday night, the Raiders play a down Chargers team that will be without star quarterback Justin Herbert, so the defense should put together another solid effort. However, to win this game, the offense will need to step up in a big way, hoping to keep the minuscule playoff hopes alive for the Raiders.
Can the Raiders offense match the defense in Week 15?
Las Vegas held Minnesota to a field goal in Week 14, as we saw rookie Tyree Wilson step up in a big way for the first time all season. The Raiders could have issues in terms of injuries for the Thursday night matchup, as Kolton Miller may miss again, and we already know that a decision has not been made at quarterback.
Still, if Josh Jacobs is healthy, he should run wild against the Chargers defense, and Davante Adams will likely see his fair share of targets in this one as well. The issue will be the quarterback play, as O'Connell looked terrible his last time out, and defenses may be starting to figure out how to gameplan against the rookie.
Las Vegas is not going to win this game if they do not find the end zone, so Bo Hardegree is going to have to do a much better job if the team wants to pick up win No. 6 at home. Falling to 5-9 would mark four straight losses for the Raiders, and likely end any discussion of O'Connell, or Antonio Pierce being back in their current roles next season.