Las Vegas Raiders vs Los Angeles Chargers: Division rivals face off in win-win NFL playoff game


By Ben Morse, CNN

And so, it all comes down to this: The Los Angeles Chargers vs. the Las Vegas Raiders in Sunday Night Football.

The winner qualifies for the NFL playoffs. The loser has a long offseason ahead of him, filled with unanswered questions.

And while there is a scenario where both teams can qualify for the end of the 2021/22 season – that would require the in-form Indianapolis Colts to lose to the dying Jacksonville Jaguars – the clash is likely Sunday either a victory or a victory. homecoming scenario.

The game was moved to the last timeslot of the NFL regular season due to the playoff implications that ensued.

While a tie could be good for both teams to advance to the playoffs, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley dismissed the idea that they would be okay with the Raiders securing the two of them. progression to the playoffs.

“I think we all respect the game and the shield of the NFL and the integrity of that game way too much to be complicit in something like that,” Staley said ‘The Rich Eisen Show’ Tuesday.

“This game means too much to too many people, and we want to do our best and be proud of the result one way or another. We’re going to do everything we can to win this game and play the way we are able to play. I hope all fans and all who love the NFL will be proud of Sunday’s game.

Ascending trajectory?

Sunday’s game will be the last out of Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert’s first full season as a starter. He took over in week two of his rookie season last year, setting the league on fire as a freshman.

And in his second season, the 23-year-old continued his meteoric rise, being elected to the Pro Bowl for the first time as well as breaking records for most passing yards and total number of touchdowns for a quarterback in their first two seasons.

Combined with first-year head coach Staley, Herbert helped lead the Chargers to the edge of the playoffs, something the team hasn’t done since 2018.

And with a host of pro Bowlers on the Chargers’ roster – six in total, including rookie offensive lineman Rashawn Slater, defensive end Joey Bosa and safety Derwin James – Herbert and his company head to Las Vegas after a impressive 34-13 victory over the division. rivals the Denver Broncos.

They’ll need an impressive win over their other AFC West rivals, the Raiders, to advance to the playoffs, having already beaten them at SoFi Stadium in LA in October.

When asked what he can learn from their clash in Week 4, Staley said both teams have moved on since then.

“You go back, there are so many games that have gone on between now and now,” Staley Recount the media. “I think you come back just to see what was similar to who they are now, and if there is any, then maybe you can make comparisons and maybe there are things that you can activate in the plan.

“But the two teams are so different. I think it’s going to be a different ball game, a different attack plan. But I really think you can come back from a match-up point of view and how they used some of their guys and if those themes stayed the same or did they change in that space in between. And again, I think it will depend on who performs best on Sunday.

End the season in style

It was a season in reverse for the Raiders.

The team won their first three games, before back-to-back defeats brought the team back to earth.

The Raiders’ season was rocked in October when head coach Jon Gruden resigned after reports emerged that he used homophobic, racist and misogynistic language in emails while working as an ESPN analyst.

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Under interim head coach Rich Bisaccia, the team won their next two games, before going 1-5 in their next six.

As their season fades, Derek Carr’s steady header at quarterback has led the Raiders to wins in their last three games, giving them a chance to claim an unlikely playoff spot.

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