How the Raiders’ offense matches up against the Chargers’ defense

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In the first three weeks of the 2021 regular season, the Chargers have faced and fared well against two of the league’s best offenses, the Cowboys and Chiefs.

Los Angeles won’t get much of a breather in Week 4, as the team is set to battle it out in primetime with the Raiders, who boast a red-hot offense.

Led by quarterback Derek Carr, who is playing some of the best football in his career, Las Vegas has the fifth-most points (90). Carr is leading the league in passing yards (1203) and passing yards per game (401).

With a slew of skill players around him, Carr is first in explosive plays. As a result, four pass-catchers have already surpassed 200 receiving yards: Darren Waller, Henry Ruggs, Bryan Edwards, and Hunter Renfrow.

On the other hand, the Chargers have the recipe to neutralize the Raiders’ passing attack. Just ask Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes, who was held to one of his least productive performances to date last Sunday.

Los Angeles ranks seventh in passing yards allowed (201.7), tied for fourth in interceptions (3), and tied for seventh in points allowed (20.0).

The pass defense’s success attributes to the playmakers at all three levels and Brandon Staley’s brilliance, who has been putting those players in a position to limit shots down the field through various pressure packages and disguised coverages.

On the flip side, while stronger against the pass, the Chargers have been atrocious versus the run. A combination of lack of physicality in the trenches and missed tackles has led to a unit that’s allowing 170 yards per game, which ranks last in the league.

The Raiders haven’t made much of an impact on the ground due to their high success at airing it out. The team is averaging 95.3 yards per game, which ranks 25th.

Primary running back Joshua Jacobs has missed the last two games with an ankle issue. Despite returning to the practice field in a limited fashion for the first time since sustaining the injury in Week 1, Jacobs is questionable for the matchup.

Even if Jacobs cannot go, it would not be much of a surprise if Peyton Barber and Kenyan Drake receive hefty workloads, given how susceptible L.A. has been against the run.

“They’re built extremely well on offense because they have a complete offense,” Staley said. “They’re very well-coached. They’re a very complete offense, and that’s where they’re the same as Kansas City. They’re dangerous on every down.”

If the Chargers want to keep the Raiders from having offensive success, the pass rush needs to be dialed in against an offensive line that ranks 23rd in pass-block win rate, and the coverage must be sticky to ensure Carr is a non-factor.