While the Los Angeles Chargers season is lost, a rivalry game against the Oakland Raiders should bring out the fire left in the team. However, injuries stand ready to play their own impact in the game.
The Chargers showed that they had no place in the playoff conversation by suffering a humiliating loss to a depleted Minnesota Vikings team. However, nothing gets players’ blood flowing like a game against the team’s most hated rival, the Raiders.
Below is the injury report for the rivalry game on Sunday and an analysis of how it will impact the game.
Justin Jackson, Running Back – Questionable (Hamstring)
Third-string running back Justin Jackson has missed a large amount of time this season, first with a calf injury and now with a new hamstring injury.
The shifty Jackson’s talent could certainly be helpful against the Raiders, as the Chargers’ running game was the main form of offense in the first matchup against the Raiders. However, expect the coaches to play it safe with Jackson, who is certain to feature in the team’s offensive plans next year.
Russell Okung, Offensive Tackle – Doubtful (Groin)
Unfortunately, Okung’s return from a pulmonary embolism has hit another snag, as he suffered another groin injury attempting to prevent a defensive touchdown last week.
This means that Trey Pipkins will likely get the start at left tackle. Pipkins is a clear downgrade in pass protection from Okung, and his performance will be critical in helping Philip Rivers avoid another disastrous game against the Raiders defense.
Chargers’ Opponents’ Injuries
Josh Jacobs, Running Back – Out (Shoulder)
Raiders’ starting running back, Josh Jacobs, will be out for this contest against a middle-of-the-road Chargers rush defense. This injury should be a fairly significant help to the Chargers defense, which allowed 4.4 yards per carry to Jacobs in their last matchup.
Richie Incognito, Offensive Guard – Out (Ankle)
The road-grating guard, Richie Incognito, will be out for this game. His replacement, Denzelle Good, has not exactly been “good” this year, grading out at a score of 56.0 from PFF on the season. The absence of Incognito will open up a chance at interior penetration for the Chargers’ talented interior defenders.
Marquel Lee, Linebacker – Out (Toe)
Marquel Lee is a backup linebacker for the Raiders, primarily utilized on special teams. His loss should not play a major factor in this game.
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Injury Impact Analysis
Oakland Raiders Injury Impact: 4.5
While healthy on defense, the Raiders’ offense will be tasked with overcoming the loss of their top weapon, Jacobs, without one of their better offensive linemen, Incognito. Two weeks ago, the Raiders’ offense struggled without Jacobs against the Tennessee Titans, and that has the potential to happen again in this game.
Los Angeles Chargers Injury Impact: 4
The Chargers come into this game arguably healthier than the Raiders, but the injury to Okung is major. Rivers has not performed well when he has felt pressure this year (both phantom and real), and that was particularly true in Week 10 when Okung originally injured his groin. Hopefully, Rivers has gained trust in Pipkins, who has performed decently this year.
However, both offenses appear to be equally hampered by losing major pieces. Hopefully, the Chargers’ strong defense will be able to help carry the team to a win this week.