The Las Vegas Raiders take on the L.A. Chargers on Sunday in a Week 4 NFL matchup. For the most part, the Raiders stars have shown up each week. Davante Adams and Maxx Crosby have led their respective units in production and effort week in and week out, even in last week's loss.
However, the Silver and Black need other players to step up moving forward. Here are a few players this week to keep an eye on as potential 'x-factors' to help secure victory against the Bolts.
It's time to unleash tight end Michael Mayer
The Raiders have not featured their 2023 second-round draft selection in the offensive game plan for whatever reason. In three games played, the Notre Dame standout has only been targeted twice, with just one catch on the season. Fortunately, the Chargers have struggled against opposing tight ends. On the season, they are allowing 11.1 yards per reception to starting tight ends. While Michael Mayer is not a starter, he certainly possesses starter talent.
Additionally, the Raiders will need a starting offensive lineman to step up to get the offense going.
Greg Van Roten must become a better run blocker
There are no stats to justify how 'good' or not good an offensive lineman is in the run game except for rushing direction stats. On Josh Jacobs' 45 rushing attempts on the season, 7 of them have been behind starting right guard Greg Van Roten. Per Pro Football Focus premium stats, Jacobs has averaged an uninspiring 0.7 yards per carry when behind Roten. The right guard has proven to be an asset in the passing game, but more times than not, he is seen losing ground in the run game.
He is a pivotal piece in opening up alleys for the rushing attack, and all he has to do is not lose ground, likehe did in the play above. Against a weak Chargers interior defensive line, look for him to show improvement as a road grader.
Marcus Epps will have plenty of opportunity to make plays
While safety Marcus Epps is a newcomer to the Raiders this season, he has more than certainly made his presence felt since arriving.
He will have ample opportunities to prove himself this week facing L.A. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert this week. Herbert has yet to commit a turnover this season, and the Raiders defense has yet to force one. Aside from Maxx Crosby, Epps is the most likely option to break the turnover drought for the Silver and Black.
Look for the above-listed players to step up and make a difference for Josh McDaniels' squad if the team wins on Sunday.