The LA Chargers take on the Las Vegas Raiders with the season on the line in primetime in Week 18. If the Chargers win then they will extend their season and make the playoffs for the first time since 2018. If they lose then a promising season will end at 9-8 with yet another missed playoff berth.
The Chargers have more talent and the offensive trends indicate that they should be able to blow out the Raiders. However, as the old saying goes, anything can happen on any given Sunday, especially in a division game with these kinds of stakes. To avoid a disappointing loss, the Chargers have to pick the matchups that they want to win in this game.
3 Raiders that the Chargers can exploit to win and make the playoffs:
1. Alex Leatherwood
Alex Leatherwood's rookie season has been horrible for the Las Vegas Raiders. He was a questionable selection in the first round for the Raiders as he went much higher than most boards were projecting and all of the holes in his game have translated to the NFL level.
Playing about 75% of his snaps at right guard, Leatherwood is allowing a huge number of pressures for an interior offensive lineman. According to Pro Football Focus, Leatherwood has allowed a pressure 64 times in 662 pass-blocking snaps. That is not good.
Last time these two teams played Leatherwood was playing right tackle and he did not have a great game. While allowing five pressures is manageable, it resulted in Derek Carr being sacked once and hit another time.
He is set to play guard in this game which seemingly puts him in a better position to succeed but the Chargers can still exploit him. A healthy defensive line can exploit him in the run game for a solid run defense and on passing sets we should see Joey Bosa rush at the guard, which he has done several times this season.