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These are two talented teams going head to head so take the points and count on Raiders QB Carr and his new WR Adams to be too much for the Chargers secondary.
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The best NFL division in 2022 is the AFC West and two of its top teams will be clashing in Week 1 when Derek Carr’s Las Vegas Raiders take on Justin Herbert’s Los Angeles Chargers, a matchup that features two top-notch passing offenses that will take on two upgraded defenses.
This offseason, the Raiders front office did both sides of the ball a favor by snagging deep threat WR Davante Adams as well as veteran DE Chandler Jones, and the Chargers improved their O-line by drafting 1st rounder Zion Johnson and they also traded for veteran OLB Khalil Mack.
Las Vegas has a new first-time HC, Josh McDaniels, while Los Angeles HC Brandon Staley is still wondering if he can do a better job leading his Chargers to the postseason this year, a game rife with solid bets and favorable odds so here are our best predictions, odds, and picks.
Part of what makes this Week 1 AFC West matchup so exciting for fans is we get to see two former college teammates work together again in the pros when Raiders veteran QB Derek Carr takes the field with WR Davante Adams, both Fresno State alum who played there together.
Both players entered the NFL in 2014 but Adams went to the Green Bay Packers while Carr was drafted by the Raiders, and now eight seasons later the two will be reunited while wearing the black and silver, a scary re-connection that could break franchise records in 2022.
Carr is coming off a season where he completed over 68 percent of his passes with the longest one being a 61-yarder, and Adams had a 1,500+ receiving yards 2021 season in Green Bay and his longest was a 59-yarder, two offensive talents who should be co-productive this season.
To beat the Raiders, the Los Angeles Chargers will need a solid rushing attack and they have just the man to lead the way in dual-threat RB Austin Ekeler, a 5-year NFL veteran back who averages 4.6 yards per carry and 9.7 yards per reception so far with 45 career end zone visits.
What having Ekeler in the backfield does is keep the opposing linebackers frozen as they must decide whether he is going to be carrying the ball or running a check-down route that can easily turn into extra yardage, this 5’ 8” 200-pound missile a tough to tackle runner in the open.
Helping the linebacker crew slow down Ekeler will be the Raiders defensive line, including the newly acquired DE Chandler Jones and veteran DE Maxx Crosby, two brutes with 97 combined tackles between them last season who will be the first line of defense against RB Ekeler.
One of the scariest of the Raiders’ offensive weapons is their TE Darren Waller, a 6’ 6” 255-pound Georgia Tech alum who can block as well as he can catch passes and elude tacklers, last season with 55 receptions off 93 targets for 665 yards and 2 TDs playing in just 11 games.
Waller missed some action last season due to a preseason ankle injury that bothered him again in Week 7 against the Eagles when he was sidelined, and then he strained his knee in November and sat out some more, a scary receiver who is tough to tackle when he is healthy.
On Sunday, the job of stopping (or at least slowing down) Waller will most likely go to Chargers SS Derwin James who in the past has done a solid job covering tight ends, but Waller will no doubt draw some double teams which should make things even easier for the other receivers.
The Chargers have arguably one of the best defensive ends slash outside linebackers in the league in 4x Pro Bowler Joey Bosa, a 27-year-old former OSU standout who has made a career out of humiliating opposing QBs and who will no doubt be giving Raiders QB Carr lots of trouble.
Last season, Bosa played in sixteen games and posted 10.5 sacks and 20 QB hits along with 51 total tackles (5 of those for a loss) as well as seven forced fumbles, a former Defensive Player of the Year who has the size (6’ 6” and 280 pounds) to do much damage to the Raiders.
During much of Sunday’s game, Bosa will face Raiders LT Kolton Miller, a fifth-year pro who is in his third season playing for Las Vegas who will take on a Chargers’ pass rush that will now include veteran OLB Khalil Mack who came over in an offseason trade with the Chicago Bears.
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|What||Las Vegas Raiders vs Los Angeles Chargers|
|Where||SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California|
|When||Sunday, September 11, 2022; 4:25 PM ET|
|How to watch||CBS|
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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]More info on Mike Lukas
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