The LA Chargers have battled the injury bug all season and that is not changing in Week 13 against the Las Vegas Raiders. Not only are the Chargers still dealing with key injuries, but the Raiders are also getting two key players back for this game. This is not the first time that has happened to the Bolts this season.
There was some initial panic early in the week when Derwin James hit the injury report for the first time all season with a hip designation. Luckily, both he and Bryce Callahan were taken off the injury report the following day and will play against the Raiders in Week 13.
That being said, there are three key starters that the Bolts are likely going to be without in this matchup. While nothing is set in stone, the trio of Mike Williams, Corey Linsley and Trey Pipkins all missed practice again on Friday. Their chances of playing on Sunday are slim.
The Chargers offense will be limited against the Raiders without these three.
Even though Keenan Allen is healthy unlike previous times this season when the Chargers ran into injuries, this is going to cap the Chargers offense against the Raiders. With Vegas getting Nate Hobbs back to help slow down Allen, the Chargers may have to get very creative to score points in this one.
The Raiders' pass rush is going to have a much easier matchup with Will Clapp and Foster Sarell on the O-line instead of Linsley and Pipkins. With an already bad run game, this is going to lead the Chargers to rely on a short, quick pass game that is not going to sit over well with the fanbase.
Luckily, Herbert does have his most comfortable third-down target in Allen but not having Williams does make it tougher for the young quarterback. The Bolts are going to need another big game out of Joshua Palmer, who will likely be the key difference-maker on offense for this team.
The Chargers cannot afford to fall behind like they did against the Arizona Cardinals (and have against several other teams this season). With Josh Jacobs likely playing, the Raiders could sit on an early two-possession lead by letting Jacobs just milk the clock and drive the team down the field.
So just like every other Charger game this season, fans should expect to sweat out another close, sometimes frustrating game in which things look far too difficult at times.