The LA Chargers are on the road against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 18 in the biggest game for either team in recent memory. This is a playoff game a week early for NFL fans to enjoy as the winner of this game will make the playoffs while the loser will go home. There is a wild situation in which the two teams can tie and both make the playoffs but that will never happen.
The high stakes of this game make it nerve-wracking for Charger fans. While the Bolts beat the Raiders earlier in the season, the absolute worst-case scenario would be losing to the Raiders to allow them into the playoffs. The victory would be extremely sweet while the loss would be extremely bitter.
While it is normal fan behavior to be nervous about this game, Charger fans should be confident in the Bolts. Not only do the Bolts have more talent than the Raiders but they are trending the right direction.
Recent offensive trends heavily favor the LA Chargers.
Of course, every single game is different but the Raiders have consistently struggled on the offensive side of the football while the Chargers have been hitting their stride offensively. Even in the ugly loss to the Houston Texans the Chargers were able to put up points on the board.
The Raiders have played nine games since releasing Henry Ruggs and they have only scored more than 20 points twice. They scored 36 in an overtime win over the Dallas Cowboys that was the worst-officiated game of the season and they just scored 23 with a last-minute field goal against the Indianapolis Colts.
In the nine games without Ruggs, the Raiders are averaging 17.7 points per game. I get that anything can happen on any given Sunday but that is more than half a season's worth of a sample size that the Raiders have played really poorly on the offensive side of the football.
The Chargers offensive has been a completely different story. In the Chargers' last nine games they have only scored under 20 points once in what was probably Justin Herbert's worst game of the year against the Denver Broncos. Over those nine games, the Chargers are averaging 30 points per game.
The Chargers are averaging nearly two more touchdowns per game in the second half of the season. While the Raiders have a good pass rush, it is not like they are some stout defensive team that is going limit the Chargers from scoring either. The Raiders rank 24th in points against this season.
The last time these two teams played the LA Chargers came away with a pretty easy 28-14 win on primetime. With this game also coming in primetime, there is a really good chance that we see a repeat outcome from the Bolts because of the recent offensive trends.