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Pick Six: An 'antsy' Nate Hobbs could return to the field this Sunday

1. Nothing was the same

A lot has changed since the first time these two teams met.

The Raiders opened up the 2022 season against the Chargers at SoFi Stadium, and were narrowly defeated, 24-19. Both teams have had their obstacles to climb since, with 13 Chargers currently on injured reserve. As for the Silver and Black, they've had to learn the hard way how to close games. They surrendered 17-point leads in three of their losses this season, and six of their losses have been by one possession. The Raiders seem to now be finding their winning recipe in the clutch moments, with two straight walk-off touchdowns in overtime.

"You always come into a game week with an idea of what you want to try to do to achieve victory, and I think that was our first example of that in real live action," Head Coach Josh McDaniels said, reflecting on the season opener. "There were some things in that game that we certainly didn't do well enough to deserve to win. I think our team has learned over the course of three or four months here, we've got to do these things right, and that's the same with – like I said, every team has those, whatever they think is most important.

"Whether it's ball security, tackling, pass rush discipline, kick coverage, whatever it is, there's certain things in the game that you're going to place a little bit bigger emphasis on, and if you do them right, then you probably give your team a chance to win."

2. Status of Raiders' lead running back

Coach McDaniels said Friday he's "hopeful" that Josh Jacobs will be able to suit up this Sunday. The running back, who is coming off a historic performance against the Broncos, has been a limited participant in practice this week due to calf injury. However, with no setbacks, it's looking optimistic for the Raiders and he is listed as questionable to play.

"Walking doesn't bother me really," Jacobs said following Wednesday's practice. "It's just taking it day-by-day, for real."

3. Grateful for another opportunity

Along with Josh Jacobs, things seem to be trending upward for cornerback Nate Hobbs to get back on the field.

Hobbs hasn't played in a game since leaving Week 5 against the Chiefs with a hand injury. He's been able to return this practice this week after an illness kept him out against the Seahawks. McDaniels expressed optimism that Hobbs could be activated by Sunday and play, with no one being more ready for his return than the cornerback himself.

"It just makes me real antsy to play," Hobbs said of being on injured reserve. "Watching my teammates every week lay it on the line, how hard they work week in and week out, it makes you want to help your teammates a lot. I'm just grateful I got another opportunity this week."

4. Old friends, new team

Jerry Tillery is a player to watch, as he's about to face his former team.

The defensive tackle, who was a first-round pick by the Chargers in 2019, was waived by the team a few weeks ago. The Raiders claimed him and put him to work immediately. His interior pass rush has been beneficial in his two games in Silver and Black, as the defense has racked up six sacks in that span.

Getting pressure on Justin Herbert will be vital for the Raiders. The Chargers quarterback wasn't sacked in the Week 1 matchup. But this time around, Tillery could help make a difference in that regard.

5. 17 problems

Davante Adams was a problem for the Chargers defense Week 1, and has kept up the same energy throughout the entirety of the season.

The All-Pro receiver – who leads the team in receiving yards (999), catches (71) and touchdown grabs (10) – is one receiving yard away from reaching 1,000 receiving yards for the season. This would be his his fourth career season with 1,000 yards since 2018, tied for the second most in the NFL over that span. He'd also become the eighth player in franchise history to reach 1,000 receiving yards in 11 games or less.

In the season opener in Los Angeles, Adams recorded 10 catches, 141 receiving yards and a touchdown.

"I think we've come a long way. It's just about situational awareness more so than anything," the wide receiver said Thursday on the progression of his team since Week 1. "Not penalizing ourselves and putting ourselves in tougher down and distances. I feel like that's what we did this past game and that's why we performed the way we did on third downs. You make it a hell of a lot easier if you got two, three, four five, six yards to go, rather than 29. That makes a hell of a difference for yourself.

"We just got to be more disciplined and continue doing what we're doing."

6. The last time...

In case you forgot, the Raiders secured a playoff berth the last time the Chargers came to Allegiant Stadium.

Week 17, the Silver and Black were in a "win or go home" situation, and the same went for the Bolts. After 75 minutes of football, the Raiders came away with a 35-32 victory in the epic clash off the leg of Daniel Carlson as time expired in OT.

Head inside Intermountain Healthcare Performance Center to view the best photos from Friday's practice.

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