Chargers vs. Raiders prediction, total: The defense rests

If you like smash-mouth football and defense, “Monday Night Football” is probably not for you this week. The Los Angeles Chargers host the Las Vegas Raiders in a battle of two of the pass-happiest teams in the NFL. With good reason: Derek Carr and the Raiders have thrown for nearly 380 yards per game and the Chargers are up above 300 per contest as well.

The Chargers have thrown on 65.2 percent of their offensive plays and the Raiders have thrown on 64 percent of theirs. These are not teams that have been throwing because they trail all the time, like the Jaguars, Jets or Falcons. These are teams that are throwing a lot because they have to play to the strengths of the offense.

This total may be inflated slightly because prime-time Overs were 8-1 going into Week 4, but also because these two offenses look a bit better than expected. The difference between Anthony Lynn’s staff and Brandon Staley’s staff has been night and day for the Chargers, who have also been more aggressive in going for fourth-down situations. The Raiders are loaded with offensive speed and Carr has been the benefactor.

Derek Carr
Getty Images

The Raiders are fourth in yards per catch and Carr ranks seventh in intended air yards. The Chargers don’t go vertical as much, but throw with such volume that their passing numbers are solid, ranking 10th in completion percentage and fourth in yards.

The two teams rank fifth and sixth, respectively, in percentage of drives ending in points, with the Chargers at 50 percent and the Raiders at 48.6 percent. The Chargers have the most red-zone trips with 15, but have only scored seven touchdowns, so that should improve going forward. The Raiders have 13 with seven TDs.

It may come down to red-zone efficiency here, but we should have the yardage for an over.

The Play: Over 51.5


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