The Los Angeles Chargers are getting set for their most meaningful game in over two years, as they prepare to play against the Las Vegas Raiders (9-7) on Sunday night. The Chargers (9-7), will take the field at Allegiant Stadium knowing their playoff scenario is simple, win or tie and you're in, while a loss will make you offseason bound.
These two teams met earlier in the season at SoFi Stadium, which resulted in a week four 28-14 victory for the Chargers on Monday Night Football. Since this time, both teams have endured tumultuous seasons, setting the scene for a very different matchup this time around.
The Raiders parted ways with then-head coach Jon Gruden, having him replaced by interim Rich Bisaccia. They've endured the devastating tragedy, arrest, and subsequent release surrounding ex-wide receiver Henry Ruggs. They parted ways with 2020 first-round pick Damon Arnette, and just recently had upstart defensive back Nate Hobbs arrested on DUI charges.
The Chargers on the other hand have suffered through lots of injuries and COVID-19 issues, particularly to their core defensive pieces, subsequently struggling to shut down opposing offenses as they allow 26.5 points per game. LA has also failed to string victories together, as they hold a 5-6 record since their hot 4-1 start to the season.
Despite the inconsistencies and drastic changes each team has persevered through this year, I still expect their week 18 matchup to echo the same result that their week four game produced, a Chargers victory that in turn see's the Bolts through to the AFC Playoffs.
Throughout this article, we'll explore the three biggest reasons why I believe the Los Angeles Chargers will wake up Monday morning part of the 14 team tournament that will duke it out for the Lombardi Trophy.