The AFC West rivalry between the Los Angeles Chargers and the Las Vegas Raiders is a contentious one. That’s putting it nicely, especially if you ask the respective fan bases. If everyone recalls, the Silver and Black had the honor of dashing the Chargers’ playoff hopes last season.
Among the topics covered in a recent look at the league’s franchises, NFL Media’s Adam Rank examined the 2022 Raiders. Among some particular subjects, Rank spotlighted last season’s crucial divisional matchup.
“Eliminating the Chargers to make the playoffs. If the teams had tied in Week 18, both would have reached the postseason. Instead, Daniel Carlson kicked a field goal in overtime, vaulting Las Vegas into the Wild Card Round and sending Los Angeles home. Interim coach Rich Bisaccia later floated the idea that they could have played for a tie. Putting that out there after ending the Chargers’ season seemed sort of cruel, but on brand for this rivalry.”
Things pick up right where they left off for the Raiders and Chargers in 2022
The Raiders endured what will likely go down as the most drama-filled season in their history. 2021 was marred by the Henry Ruggs III tragedy, a scandal involving Jon Gruden, and, of course, a myriad of injuries. However, the Silver and Black rallied and, in one of the most dramatic finishes in recent memory, the Raiders eliminated the Chargers from playoff contention in Week 18.
As Rank pointed out, former head coach Rich Bisaccia mentioned that his team nearly played for the tie; instead, they went for the jugular.
To call this a rivalry is a mild take. Just look at social media. These two fan bases take it all quite personally. On the field, the matchups between these two teams have provided primetime entertainment on several occasions. Well, guess what? Things will pick up right where they left off last season. In Week 1, as the nation observes 9/11, the Raiders and Chargers will do battle at SoFi Stadium, an unofficial second home for the Silver and Black. Will the outcome be different this time around?
If the Raiders don’t have the testicular fortitude in 2022 to get into the playoffs and beyond, that inspiring 2021 season-ending win means jack squat.
*Top Photo: Chris Unger/Getty Images