The 2022 NFL season is right around the corner and the Las Vegas Raiders will open the year against the Los Angeles Chargers in SoFi stadium. Not very many teams are fortunate enough to get two home openers in a single season.
Then again, not many franchises have a fanbase as passionate as Raider Nation. With that in mind, let’s look at a few names that will be key against the Bolts.
3 Raiders who could be key vs. Chargers in Week 1
3. Lester Cotton Sr., OG
We knew this was coming. Concerns about the Raiders’ offensive line are no longer overblown. While they still have stalwart left tackle Kolton Miller to deal with either Khalil Mack or Joey Bosa, the right side of the trenches brings a heavy amount of nervousness. Cotton was cut multiple times before becoming the opening day starter at right guard for new head coach Josh McDaniels.
New right tackle Jermaine Eluemunor might have his struggles as well against this Chargers defensive front but the thought of heavy stunts targeting Cotton could become a big issue on Sunday. McDaniels will no doubt be ready to have quarterback Derek Carr get rid of the ball quickly, and it’ll be paramount that he does so.
2. Ameer Abdullah, RB
The ground game will be extremely important tomorrow. The best way to stop an offense as high-powered as the Chargers is to limit their possessions. The Raiders will lean on lead back Josh Jacobs to chew up yards and clock alike, but the passing down duties will fall upon Ameer Abdullah.
In fact, Abdullah’s ability to hold up in pass protection will be key in Week 1. As mentioned previously, Los Angeles’ defensive front is incredibly formidable. Abdullah may not look it, but he is very strong in the protection game, which only adds to his value.
1. Derek Carr’s Vision
You heard me.Â
Derek Carr will now have his best complement of weapons since he entered the NFL. With Darren Waller a full go, DC4 will be able to scan the field and see a top-three tight end, the best wide receiver in football in Davante Adams, and the outstanding Hunter Renfrow in the slot.
With that being said, Carr CANNOT lock in on just one target come Sunday. If the Fresno State product can keep the Chargers guessing and avoid forcing the ball to his best friend Davante, the Raiders offense will start the season on a very high note.
*Top Photo: Heid Fang, Las Vegas Review-Journal