The Las Vegas Raiders are officially on a roll. After a disastrous first quarter that saw the team have two turnovers, including an interception returned for a touchdown, the Raiders hunkered down. They dominated the Los Angeles Chargers for the rest of the game and the defense had one of its most impressive games of the season – only allowing one offensive touchdown all game. It was an excellent game in all three phases.
Heading into the game, the Chargers didn’t seem worried about their ability to score on the Raiders’ defense. Wide receiver Keenan Allen was very excited to go against the team’s secondary. He referred to the team’s man coverage as “barbecued chicken” and said that “they’re dead.” Allen had a solid game with 6 catches for 88 yards and a touchdown but it certainly wasn’t the massive game he predicted.
The Raiders were well-aware of the comments from the wide receiver and offensive lineman Jermaine Eluemunor made sure to throw shade after the game.
The Raiders and Chargers have had some tense matchups over the last few seasons. They clearly don’t like each other much. It’s unlikely they will play each other again this season in the playoffs but Las Vegas gets the last laugh once again.
Raiders Gaining Momentum
If only the Raiders had been able to win some more games early in the season, they’d be in the thick of the playoff race. However, they dug themselves a massive hole by starting the year 2-7. The team is now on a three-game winning streak and is only two games below .500.
Heading into the season, the Raiders were overhyped. It was shortsighted to suggest that a team that made a change at head coach would compete for a Super Bowl just because they made the playoffs last season. It was always going to take time for Josh McDaniels to get his system and culture in place. What should excite Raiders fans is that things are starting to click. It may be too late to make a run this season but it’s clear the team is headed in the right direction. Finishing strong this year would give the team a ton of momentum heading into the offseason.
What’s Ahead for the Raiders This Season
It would be unwise for Raiders fans to get too excited right now but there’s certainly reason to believe the team can continue its winning streak. On Thursday, they travel to their second home in Los Angeles to face a Rams team that has no Matthew Stafford or Cooper Kupp. Plus, Hunter Renfrow and Darren Waller will be eligible to return from Injured Reserve this week. It remains to be seen if the Raiders will activate either of them in a short week but the two should be back soon.
Following the Rams game, the Raiders will face Mac Jones and the New England Patriots, Kenny Pickett and the Pittsburgh Steelers and then the San Francisco 49ers and Brock Purdy. Las Vegas will have a massive quarterback advantage in all three of those games. It’s very possible that the Raiders go into their Week 18 matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs with a 9-7 record. Do nine or ten wins get them into the playoffs? Maybe not but the team would be feeling really good about making a run next year.