Identifying the Chargers’ biggest offensive X-Factor vs. Raiders

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If the Raiders are going to slow down the Chargers’ passing attack, the team will have to get plenty of pressure on quarterback Justin Herbert. However, Las Vegas might have the recipe, as the team ranks third in the league in pressure rate (44%).

Despite blitzing the least amount, a great chunk of the Raiders’ success has come from having one of the most disruptive edge defenders in the NFL right now, with that being Maxx Crosby. Crosby currently leads the league in quarterback pressures with 25.

Entering Week 4, Crosby is licking his chops, knowing that he will be lined up across from right tackle Storm Norton. Last season when he got the start at right tackle against the Raiders in Week 15, Norton allowed a team-high five pressures.

Norton, who has been getting the start in place of the injured Bryan Bulaga, has strung together a mixed bag of performances since taking over.

In Week 1 against Washington, Norton held his own against Chase Young and Montez Sweat. In Week 2 against the Cowboys, Micah Parson absolutely ate his lunch. Then, last weekend, Norton fared well against Chris Jones. In total, Norton has allowed 12 pressures.

Offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi will incorporate plenty of max protection, double teams, and chip blocks on his side to mitigate Crosby as much as possible. But Norton will still need to hold his own when he is left in his occasional one-on-one situations.

Left tackle Rashawn Slater will also draw a tough matchup in Yannick Ngakoue, who has 15 pressures through the first three weeks. But Slater has stymied elite competition in the early going of his professional career, only allowing five pressures across 135 pass-blocking snaps.

If the line can keep Herbert clean throughout the night, look for him to continue to have success against a Raiders team that he completed 67 percent of his passes for 640 yards and four touchdowns in both meetings a season ago.