Los Angeles Chargers vs Las Vegas Raiders Week 18 Predictions, Odds, Picks

  • The L.A. Chargers 22nd ranked defense must stop the Raiders’ 6th ranked air attack
  • The 9-7 Raiders are still mathematically in the playoff hunt, but a lot must go their way
  • All of the Los Angeles’ last five games have gone over the total points line

Chargers vs Raiders Odds

Las Vegas Raiders vs Los Angeles Chargers Sunday, January 9, 2021; 8:20 PM ET
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Chargers vs Raiders Week 18

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If the 9-7 L.A. Chargers want to play more football in January, they must beat the Raiders in Week 18 which should give them the final AFC Wildcard seed in the postseason, so the good version of QB Justin Herbert must show up and his team’s 22nd ranked defense must game plan a way to stop the Raiders’ 6th ranked air attack if they expect to win and stay alive.

It is incredible that the 9-7 Las Vegas Raiders are still mathematically in the playoff hunt, but of course, a lot of things must go their way for that to actually happen, the most difficult of those being to beat this Chargers team that’s tough on both sides of the ball, but team leader QB Derek Carr has brought his banged-up team this far so expect him to fight for the last win here.

These two AFC West rivals have faced each other 124 previous times (including 1 postseason game), with the Las Vegas Raiders winning 66 of those games and the Los Angeles Chargers winning 56 of the games, plus there have been two ties.

Los Angeles Chargers vs Las Vegas Raiders Predictions

Can Chargers 22nd Ranked Defense Step in Vegas?

As impressive as the Chargers top-4 offense has been as it scores almost 28 points per game this season, it’s the other side of the ball that is causing some concerns, especially for the post season, L.A.’s 22nd ranked defense a question mark that needs to get answered this week.

It’s Bosa time (see below), which means that the pass rush must dominate and get to QB Derek Carr fast before he can release the ball or escape the pocket, but that means CBs Tevaughn Campbell and rookie Asante Samuel must maintain tight coverage long enough to help.

It puts too much pressure on QB Justin Herbert’s excellent offense to outscore an opponent that is allowed to put almost thirty points on the scoreboard, so DC Renaldo Hill’s group will have the spotlight on them in this one to see if they can make life rough for the Raiders and stay alive.

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Can the Raiders QB Derek Carr Continue to Lead Despite Drama?

As questionable as the Raiders have played at times during this season, the one steady factor on the team (once again) was (and is) veteran QB Derek Carr, right now the fourth-best at his position in the league and the main reason this team is still in the postseason hunt.

Carr is bigger than he looks at 6’ 3” and 210 pounds, the eight-year pro (all with the Raiders) a team leader who has kept his teammates focused on the field despite all the off-the-field drama the group has endured throughout this season.

After 16 games, Carr has completed almost 70 percent of his passes, with 408 completions for 4,618 yards and 21 touchdowns and 14 interceptions and a threat with his legs, as well, this year with 39 carries for 109 yards, an exciting player to watch for sure.

Chargers Key Player: (EDGE) Joey Bosa

It’s been a half dozen seasons now that Chargers EDGE rusher Joey Bosa has been making opposing NFL QBs’ lives a sacking nightmare, this former OSU Buckeye now a sixth year pro whose 6’ 5” 280 pound body gets to the ball and quarterback much faster than you’d think.

With Bosa on the defensive front line, the offensive coordinator must game plan some chips and double-teams, or else he will figure out a way to bypass one-on-ones with ease, so far this season with 9.5 sacks, 20 quarterback hits, 6 forced fumbles, and 49 tackles (5 for loss).

If you want to be thoroughly entertained, watch Bosa all game, the guy has a never-ending engine that keeps him heading towards the QB, so Derek Carr will know this and his offensive line will do their best to protect him but at some point Bosa will become a factor in this one.

Raiders Key Player: (RB) Josh Jacobs

One glaring weak spot for the Las Vegas Raiders is their rushing attack, right now ranked 29th in the league after averaging just 90 yards on the ground per game, an aspect of their offense that suffers in terms of potential production since the passing game gets so many more snaps.

One bright spot out of that struggling backfield is RB Josh Jacobs, a third-year pro who played at Alabama and has been a Raider since the 2019 NFL Draft when he was chosen in the first round, this year with 191 carries for 740 yards and 8 TDs with 52 catches for 336 yards.

Watch for the Raiders to use the double-tooled Jacobs out of the backfield as both a threat to run and as a check-down receiver, his ability to get loose after first contact will keep him employed and his soft hands will continue to make him a key part of this Vegas offense.

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How to Watch Chargers vs Raiders

Chargers vs Raiders Information
What Los Angeles Chargers vs Las Vegas Raiders
Where Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada
When Sunday, January 9, 2022; 8:20 PM ET
How to watch NBC

 

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Mike Lukas

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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]