Week 18 Game Hub: LAC-LV


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Week 18 Game Hub: LAC-LV

Los Angeles Chargers (9-7, 8-8 ATS) at Las Vegas Raiders (9-9, 7-9), 8:20 p.m., SNF

Brolley’s Chargers Stats and Trends

  • The Chargers beat the Raiders 28-14 as three-point home favorites in a game totaled at 52 points back in early October.

  • Los Angeles has played over the total in five straight games.

  • Justin Herbert is 369 passing yards away from reaching 5000 yards this season, a totale he’s hit twice this season. He’s thrown for multiple TDs in six of his last seven games, and he’s averaging 298.0 passing yards per game in that stretch. Herbert completed 25/38 passes for 222 yards (5.8 YPA) and three TDs in this matchup in Week 4.

  • Keenan Allen has fallen below 45 receiving yards in three of his last four games but he’s scored four times in that span to keep himself afloat. He’s posted 75+ yards and/or scored a touchdown in eight of his last nine contests. Allen mustered just 7/36 receiving on 11 targets in this matchup in early October.

  • Mike Williams scored just his second touchdown in his last 10 games last week with a 45-yard strike against the Broncos. He’s scored 12+ FP in three of his last four games but he saw a 13-week low four targets last week. The Raiders stymied Williams back in Week 4, limiting him to just an 11-yard catch on four targets.

  • Jared Cook will return to the lineup after a week’s stay on the COVID list. He’s reached double-digit FP just once in his last seven contests, but he did break 40+ yards in his last game for the first time since Week 9. Cook had his best game of the season against the Raiders in Week 4, hanging 6/70/1 receiving against them.

  • Austin Ekeler has posted 14+ FP in seven straight games with 10 touchdowns in that span. He looked at full strength last week after missing Week 16 with COVID, posting 17/58/1 rushing and 3/54 receiving against the Broncos. Ekeler posted season-highs in rushing yards (117) and scrimmage yards (145) when these teams met in Week 4, and he’s averaging 97.3 scrimmage yards per game this season.

Brolley’s Raiders Stats and Trends

  • Las Vegas is 2-5 ATS in its last seven home games.

  • The Raiders are 4-1 toward unders in their last five games.

  • Derek Carr is 382 yards away from reaching 5000 yards this season, which he last did when he opened the season with three consecutive games with 382+ yards. He’s thrown for one or fewer touchdowns in seven straight games. Carr completed 21/34 passes for 196 yards (5.8 YPA), two TDs, and one INT when these squads met in early October.

  • Darren Waller sounded poised to play against the Colts in Week 17 after more than a month off for a knee injury, but he missed his fifth consecutive game after landing on the COVID list. Waller posted 7/116 receiving on eight targets in his last full game in Week 11 before his injury, and he had 4/50/1 receiving on seven targets against Los Angeles back in Week 4.

  • Hunter Renfrow needs just one catch to reach 100 receptions for the season. After two relatively quiet performances in Weeks 15-16 (6/72/1 receiving), he bounced back with 7/76/1 receiving on nine targets. Renfrow finished 6/45/1 receiving on eight targets when these teams met in Week 4.

  • Zay Jones has given this passing game a lift with 5+ catches in five of his last six games. He has three consecutive performances with 11+ FP after posting a season-high 8/120 receiving on 10 targets against the Colts in Week 17. Courtland Sutton posted just 3/60 receiving on six targets in this matchup last week.

  • Josh Jacobs has reached 70+ scrimmage yards in six straight games and he has 18+ touches in five of those contests. He ended a three-game drought without a touchdown against the Colts last week on hsi way to 20/80/1 scrimmage. Jacobs posted 13/40 rushing and he caught all five of his targets for 17 yards when these teams met in Week 4.

Barfield’s Pace and Tendencies


Pace (seconds in between plays): 27.1 (6th)

Plays per game: 65.0 (11th)

Pass: 60.1% (18th) | Run: 39.9% (15th)


Pace: 29.5 (20th)

Plays per game: 60.6 (24th)

Pass: 63.4% (5th) | Run: 36.6% (28th)

All pace / play data is from the last eight weeks.

Pace Points

While the Raiders have impressively weathered a very stormy 2021 season, this offense is still leaking oil as they try to get one more win and get in the playoffs. In their last nine games since their bye, the Raiders have been held under 17 points 7 times while their average point differential is a brutal -9.1 points in this span. They’re going to have to summon up their most complete game of the year and certainly have a lot to draw from after their impressive road win against the Colts last week.

Meanwhile, the Chargers arguably should not be in a win-and-in situation after they’ve dropped winnable games to inferior opponents (Texans and Broncos) in recent weeks. L.A. is going to put this game in Justin Herbert’s hands and do what they do: Throw the ball and play fast. This game has arguably the best shootout potential on the Week 18 slate, even though the Raiders offense has struggled because if Vegas is forced to play from behind as the spread (Chargers -3) suggests, we could see both sides rip off a ton of plays here. Over the last eight weeks, no offense is more pass-heavy when trailing than the Raiders (74.5%).

Huber’s Key Matchup Notes

The Raiders have done a nice job cleaning up the cracks in their massively-heavy Cover 3 scheme. But the one vulnerability that remains is in defending TEs. They will throw a few Cover 3-Seam formations on the field in an attempt to limit that inside production, but that is a scheme that can free Keenan Allen up from Nate Hobbs’ coverage – not a good thing. That all explains why I am all over Jared Cook this week. In addition to Las Vegas handing out 15.3 FPG to opposing TEs (sixth-most), Cook has been a Cover 3 beast. During the last three seasons, Cook has generated 0.46 FP/Rt (fifth-most), 2.07 YPRR (eighth-most), 11.3 YPT (second-most), 9.1 AY/Tgt (fifth-most), and a 137.6 TPR (the highest) when working against Cover 3.

If we had definitive word that Darren Waller would be active, I’d be talking about him here. This is a playoff play-in game. We are going to see both teams pulling every trick out of their hats to secure the victory. Hunter Renfrow hasn’t made a playoff appearance yet during his career. And he will enter this game with far more power to eliminate that statement from his resume. Let’s not forget that Renfrow caught the game-winning TD from Deshaun Watson in the final seconds to win the National Championship for Clemson during his redshirt-sophomore season. The Slot Machine is no stranger to the added pressure of a big game.

Dolan’s Vantage Points

This is it! Win and in (most likely … there are unlikely scenarios in which both of these teams make the playoffs).

So, both teams have the incentive to go all out. Cynically, you can see that from the Raiders, given slot CB Nate Hobbs will play despite being arrested on suspicion of DUI, a decision that doesn’t have the best optics given the Henry Ruggs tragedy earlier this year. But hey, the Raiders have to slow down Keenan Allen!

The Raiders have gotten a lot of positive production from WR Zay Jones lately, but you wonder if his numbers will dip if TE Darren Waller can return this week.

Waller (knee/COVID) has been activated off the virus list, but still hasn’t played since Thanksgiving Day with a knee injury that was, at the time, reported to be “day-to-day.” (*eye roll*)

Well, before being placed on the COVID list last week, it looked like Waller would have a chance to play against the Colts. And now, with several limited practices this week, it looks like Derek Carr will have a hell of a weapon alongside Hunter Renfrow in a must-win game.