The Chargers are missing key skill players on both sides of the ball, but center Corey Linsley's concussion is the most concerning of those injuries and one that could be moving the line against the Las Vegas Raiders.
Here's a betting breakdown of Sunday's matchup between the AFC West rivals:
Chargers at Las Vegas Raiders (PK, 50.5)
Some Southern California residents who spent Thanksgiving Weekend in Sin City are likely making the trek up I-15 again to watch their beloved Chargers battle the Raiders at Allegiant Stadium. This game means more to the Chargers than the Raiders given the positioning for each team in the standings and the remaining strength of schedule. However, we’ve seen this line leak down to a pick ‘em because of the litany of injuries for the Chargers.
Though Derwin James Jr. and Mike Williams will draw the headlines, the most impactful injury for the Chargers this week is Linsley’s concussion. Linsley grades as a top-two center in the NFL per Pro Football Focus and is the unquestioned leader of the offensive line. Trey Pipkins III’s injury is another big one as the starting right tackle and cluster injuries are always noteworthy, but Linsley means everything from a pass protection standpoint.
This season’s returns tell us that the Chargers weren’t going to be able to run the ball regardless, as they rank 30th in yards per carry. Though L.A. is sixth in yards passing and passing touchdowns, it is worth noting that some advanced stats like EPA (expected points added) and Success Rate consider the Chargers' passing game to be below average. Offensive line injuries only lower the probabilities for efficiency and success.
Defensively, the Chargers may get a little help if Raiders running back Josh Jacobs isn’t able to go. The Raiders just ran for 283 yards on the Seahawks and have nearly touched 300 yards passing in the last two games. I’m still not sure that will be enough help. The Chargers are limping into this game, while it seems as if the Raiders, who have won two close games in a row after starting 0-5 in games decided by six or fewer points, are on the rise.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.