The Los Angeles Chargers will not be moving to London!
Or so their social media would have you believe.
— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) November 5, 2019
After the fourth and final London game finished, rumours emerged regarding a new franchise in the UK, but a post, citing the famous “I’m staying” scene from the Wolf of Wall Street seemed to pour water on the rumours.
On Thursday, the L.A side take on a team who used to call the City of Angels their home and who will themselves move to Las Vegas next season.
No matter what the future holds, this is the last time these West coast teams will battle it out in their current guise and both teams will have eyes on the playoffs ahead of this AFC West clash
The Raiders are 4-4, coming off the back of a hard-fought and perhaps fortunate 31-24 win over the Detroit Lions. More impressive was the way the Bolts welcomed the Green Bay Packers into their home and then smacked them straight in the mouth.
Claiming their first home win over the NFC side and moving to 4-5. Gain the advantage on Thursday and you are right in the mix for a Wildcard berth, lose and it could be the end of the road.
The Raiders will look towards Josh Jacobs during the short week. His 120 yards rushing on Sunday was the most ever by a rookie for this franchise.
He has six rushing touchdowns, 740 yards and is RB7 in the NFL. He has gained just one yard less than Ezekiel Elliott, but with six fewer attempts.
Jon Gruden will trust his rookie with every yard he puts on the board and if they take the game to the Chargers Jacobs should see plenty of the ball early on.
He may not be flashy like Saqoun Barkley, or catch as many passes as Christian McCaffrey, what he does is old fashioned but effective. Jacobs finds a seam and pushes right up the middle.
It’s smashmouth and it’s very much what the Raiders are all about. Look for them to go to the former Alabama star early and often.
Sunday’s hard-fought win over the Lions, was just the Raiders third home game this term. Only the Chiefs have beaten them in their own backyard and the black and silver won’t make it easy for Philip Rivers to come to Oakland and pick up another victory.
Everything suggests this will be a close and intriguing contest. The Raiders allow more air yards than their opponents, at 311 per game compared to just 92 on the ground. The Chargers are down at 224 passing yards per game, but 114 rushing. Which could play nicely into Jacobs hands.
Yet, Gruden’s side has the worst passing defence in the NFL, conceding 297.5 yards per game. Bringing Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Austin Ekeler to the Coliseum will pose an equally hard task for the Oakland defence.
Both teams have momentum, but the Raiders have the home advantage and it could be enough to see them squeeze through.
With the short turnaround, you have to question how much the Packers win took out of Anthony Lynn and his team.
As it stands, the Chargers, even though they put up 26 on Green Bay, are averaging just 20.3 per game this term. The Raiders, again, after scoring 31, are only up to 22.8 per game.
After taking the game to the Packers and Aaron Rodgers, the Bolts showed their defence could hold up against one of the best QBs in the league. Derek Carr has been good enough, but not AR12 good.
If Gus Bradley – defensive coordinator when the Legion of Boom ruled Seattle – can find a way to stop a potential MVP candidate, trust he can scheme a way to put Derek Carr into some tough situations.
There will be points. Both defences aren’t as good as they’d hope, with players missing on both sides, but it’s hard to see either team beating their average.
Even allowing three touchdowns each, they would still meet their expected levels, but remain as close and predictable as they’ve shown all season.