After a crazy and emotional win over the Cleveland Browns in overtime last week, the Oakland Raiders go to Southern California to play the L.A. Chargers in what looks to possibly be another pro-Raiders crowd at the StubHub Center.
There will be many storylines going into this key divisional clash, and we will now take a quick look at a few players that should be watched by fans on Sunday.
Brandon Parker RT
The obvious position to watch is at right tackle. With the loss of Donald Penn, rookie Brandon Parker will now be thrown into the fire. Without pass rusher Joey Bosa who is still out due to injury, the Chargers only have eight sacks on the season and they’ve struggled to put pressure on the QB. Kolton Miller has had a nice start to his rookie campaign but has also struggled at various times allowing pressure on Derek Carr. Chargers defensive tackle Corey Liuget comes back from a four-game suspension and he should help the Chargers d-line immensely. It will be interesting to see how Parker responds when many think he may not be ready yet.
Jalen Richard RB
With today’s rules making it near impossible for defensive players to slow down and cover pass catchers, running backs coming out of the backfield in the passing game are extremely difficult to stop. Players like the Saints’ Alvin Kamara, Washington’s Chris Thompson, & the Patriots James White are just a few of the pass-catching running backs in the NFL who have become huge weapons without a lot of rushing attempts. I think Jalen Richard can be that guy for the Raiders.
Richard was not a factor in the Denver game, but in the other three games, he had 18 catches for 152 yards. His speed makes him near impossible for linebackers to stay with, and his ability to pass block and pick up blitzes shows how valuable he can be in the passing game. The Raiders need to get him involved early on because I don’t think the Chargers have any answers for him.
P.J. Hall DT
Hall came back last week from a two-week ankle injury but only played about a fourth of the game. The Chargers offensive line is playing well so this will be a good test for him. Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler are an elite RB tandem and Hall needs to start showing his run stopping skills if Oakland is to slow down the LA ground game. Hall can greatly help a Raiders defense which is No. 31 in yards per carry giving up a whopping 5.6 yards a rush, while the Chargers offense are No. 4 in the NFL gaining 5.3 yards a carry. With the Raiders giving up so many big plays, Hall needs to help stop the run to force teams into passing situations where Oakland’s blitz packages can come into play. The Raiders are also No. 31 in scoring defense giving up 30.8 points a game.
These three players are who I’m going to put on my list to see how they progress in helping the Raiders get to 2-3. With both defenses struggling, this may become another crazy Raider Nation invasion on the road against the Chargers.