The Las Vegas Raiders Week 13 matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers is a crucial one with the season on the line. The Raiders are coming off a thrilling 40-34 overtime win against the Seahawks in Seattle. In the win, Raiders running back Josh Jacobs went nuclear, finishing with 303 total yards from scrimmage and a couple of touchdowns. That includes the walk-off 86-yard touchdown run.
Things are not going to get any easier this week as they face their bitter AFC West rival with playoff implications. The Raiders are clinging to life, sitting at 4-7 and needing to essentially win out to reach the postseason for the second consecutive season. Meanwhile, the Chargers are coming off a breath taking win themselves. Justin Herbert threw the potential game-tying touchdown pass with seconds left. But instead of kicking the extra point, the Chargers went for the win. Herbert found Gerald Everett for the two-point conversion and the win. That bumped them to 6-5 on the season.
So, if the Raiders want any chance at making the playoffs, they must win this game. Without further ado, let’s get to the Raiders Week 13 predictions.
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4. Raiders RB Josh Jacobs continues to dominate
It was believed that Josh Jacobs’ days in Las Vegas were coming to a close after the team failed to sign his fifth-year option. So, he will be a free agent after this season. But the Raiders might be regretting that decision now. He is having a breakout season. Jacobs leads the NFL with 1,159 rushing yards, is third in carries with 216 and is tied for fourth with nine rushing touchdowns.
He has always shown the ability to be lethal catching passes out of the backfield. This season has been no different. He has 40 catches for 325 yards this year.
The Chargers are among the worst rush defenses in the NFL. Up until Week 11, they were allowing a league-record 5.7 yards per carry. They’ve been a bit better lately, but are still susceptible to opposing running games. Look for the Raiders to try and stay ahead of the chains with Jacobs early and often.
Look for him to rush for over 100 yards and find the end zone once again Sunday.
3. Derek Carr throws 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions
Raiders quarterback Derek Carr has had a very frustrating season. At times, he has looked like a Pro Bowl level player. Other times, he looks like he shouldn’t be starting in the league. That’s far from what many expected when Las Vegas traded for his former college teammate, Davante Adams.
Carr has been criticized at certain points this season for failing to get the ball to Adams. But in recent weeks, he’s done a much better job looking his way. Adams balled out two weeks ago, taking Broncos All-Pro cornerback Pat Surtain II to school.
The Chargers secondary poses a strong challenge. In their matchup earlier this year in Week 1, Carr threw for 295 yards and two touchdowns. However, he also tossed a season-high three interceptions. This game should have plenty of points scored, with both defenses struggling to make stops. Carr should be productive in this game, but his propensity to turn the ball over will also rear its ugly head once again.
2. Raiders defense gets shredded by Justin Herbert
Okay, you got me. Predicting that the Raiders secondary will get shredded by Justin Herbert is not exactly the boldest take. But it is a prediction that is going to happen. The Raiders defense was supposed to be getting better this year. They signed former All-Pro edge rusher Chandler Jones to pair with Maxx Crosby.
The thought was that duo would wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines. That has not happened this year, with Jones being ineffective. It appears he finally hit the wall after dominating for so long.
Without the ability to get consistent pressure on Herbert, he should have a field day. Keenan Allen looks fully healthy. Mike Williams might even return this week. Joshua Palmer and DeAndre Carter have emerged as threats in the passing game. Let’s not forget how lethal Austin Ekeler is out in the flat.
The Chargers will surpass 400 yards and might even go over 500 in this contest.
1. Las Vegas and Los Angeles play in a thriller
As are many of these games, this weekend’s Raiders vs. Chargers came should come down to the end. If Los Angeles were healthy, that might be the case. But they are still missing key players on both the offensive and defensive lines. That should allow the Raiders to keep it close.
But I trust Herbert more than I trust Carr to make a big throw late. The Chargers will end the Raiders season, 27-24.