Los Angeles Chargers preview
After an offseason marked by big-name additions to both teams, the Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers will square off to begin their 2022 seasons.
It’s not just the renewal of a long-standing divisional rivalry, but a rematch of one of the best games of the 2021 season.
It was in Week 18, when the Raiders beat the Chargers in overtime, 35-32, sending the Raiders into the playoffs and ending the Chargers’ playoff hopes at the same time.
Since then, the Raiders have solidified themselves as legitimate playoff contenders.
The Chargers, however, are seen by many in the NFL as a true Super Bowl contender entering this season.
It starts on offense, where in just two seasons, quarterback Justin Herbert is already considered one of the best talents at that position in the league.
Throwing for over 5,000 yards and 38 touchdowns, like he did last year, will help do that, as will having a talented supporting cast.
Running back Austin Ekeler tied for the league lead in total touchdowns last season with 20, and wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams make up one of the NFL’s best receiving duos.
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The Chargers have also done significant work to improve their offensive line, including taking guard Zion Johnson in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft.
Defensively, Chargers head coach Brandon Staley should have a lot more work to do after Los Angeles finished with the fourth-worst defense in the NFL last season.
They traded for former Raider and multi-time All-Pro passer Khalil Mack and signed cornerback JC Jackson to a five-year, $82.5 million deal.
Those talents, combined with starters for the Chargers like defensive end Joey Bosa and safety Derwin James, give their defense a much higher ceiling.
It all adds up to make what is considered one of the best rosters in the NFL, but the Raiders enter this season with an advantage.
It’s that they beat the Chargers in the game that mattered the most last season, and the Bolts are the ones who will have to prove they can take the next step and ultimately just make the playoffs, let alone make the playoffs. fight for a Super Bowl.
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