LA Chargers: Game breakdown and prediction for Week 15 at Raiders
By Sean Basile
The LA Chargers are on primetime on Thursday Night Football against the Las Vegas Raiders.
The LA Chargers roll into Week 15 coming off a fantastic comeback victory over the Falcons at home. Their win, bringing them to 4-9 on the season, also ended a Falcon dominance on the road against this Bolts franchise.
Atlanta had been 6-0 against the Chargers on the road in their history. Justin Herbert and company ended that streak, which can only mean this franchise is headed in the right direction……..you know……once they get rid of their coaching staff.
I certainly got the game wrong. I had a feeling the Chargers would be able to pull it off, but I just couldn’t get past all the numbers that pointed to Atlanta winning it. What really surprised me was how low-scoring the game was.
The numbers did say the game would tend to lean under, but Matt Ryan vs. Justin Herbert is not exactly a quarterback matchup I see as being devoid of much offense.
Now we move on to this week against the struggling Las Vegas Raiders who already beat LA back in Week 9. Good news for the Bolts, they are trending upward while the Raiders are trending downward. The role of the spoiler is firmly in the Bolts’ possession.
While it’s true the Bolts haven’t beaten an AFC West opponent in nine games and have also not won back-to-back games this year, the Raiders are also 1-3 in their last 4 games outright and 0-3 against the spread in their last 3.
They got their doors blown off by the very Falcons team that LA beat last week and then almost lost to the winless Jets if not for a miraculous last-second touchdown.
I don’t have a ton of numbers to throw at you this week since this is a Thursday game and I cannot compare percentages to the rest of the field quite yet. Typically, when I pick Thursday games, they’re more of a “feel” than anything else. This is a game in which I’m seeing a lot of arrows pointing to the Chargers getting the upset.
Last time out, Justin Herbert threw for 326 yards and 2 touchdowns to zero picks against the Raiders. Yes, in a losing effort, but he still posted those numbers and a 105.9 passer rating, so in my humble opinion, Justin is due to smoke this Raiders team.
If there’s one thing that does the Raiders in nowadays is the fact that they can’t stop anybody. 44 points allowed last week to the Colts. 28 to the hapless Jets. 43 to the Falcons. And 35 to the Chiefs.
The past four weeks have exposed this Raiders defense to what it has been this whole time which is a poorly-coached unit that can’t get pressure and gives up a ton of points. That’s why they fired their DC after last week’s loss.
A Justin Herbert-led offense is going to put up big numbers this week unless I’m way off.
Looking ahead, I say the Chargers win this game, then the next against the Broncos at home, and then lose Week 17 at the Chiefs to bring them to 6-10 on the season (my prediction at the beginning of the year). They could win all three and finish 7-9, but even if the Chiefs pack it in Week 17, that’s still an offense that is going to be hard to keep up with.
This week I’m really feeling the upset. Give me the Chargers 34-28 over the spiraling Raiders and for the over 53 to be hit. The Raiders are really bad at home this year and I think they’re more likely to beat Miami next week. I’m confident they’ll win one of the next two weeks, not both.
The Chargers, on the other hand, are way more in a position to go on a run. Forget tanking for better draft picks. What this team needs is a strong finish to ride into next season. The Justin Herbert 2021 MVP clock has begun.