1. How close is Jimmy Garoppolo to being cleared?
While it's still unclear whether Jimmy Garoppolo will suit up this Sunday, things are trending upward.
The Raiders QB1 is still in concussion protocol, however, he participated in his second straight practice Friday. Head Coach Josh McDaniels seemed optimistic about his status heading into the game, but the situation won't be definite unless Garoppolo clears the protocol. He's been ruled questionable heading into to game.
Garoppolo has thrown at least one touchdown pass in each of his last 12 road starts, the fourth longest active streak in the NFL. He last faced the Chargers in 2022 while with the 49ers, pulling out a 22-16 victory, as he completed nearly 67 percent of passes and added a rushing touchdown.
2. Adams vs. the Chargers
No matter who's the quarterback for the Raiders this Sunday, Davante Adams will be a focal point for the offense.
The All-Pro receiver is coming off a 13 catch, 172-yard performance with two touchdowns against the Pittsburgh Steelers. It was his 22nd game with at least 10 receptions, tying with Andre Johnson for second-most in NFL history. In his two outings against the Chargers in 2022, he compiled 318 receiving yards on 18 catches and three touchdowns.
"It's not just about the Sunday or the Saturday before the game, cleaning things up. You have to be locked in and attentive to all the things that go into a winning week," Adams said of his mentality. "And we're trying to do things the right way, but there's just another level that I know we can tap into. That's basically where I'm at right now."
3. Chargers' defensive woes
Heading into Week 4, the Chargers defense has allowed the most passing yards to opposing offenses (1,011), the second-most passing first-downs (81) and is tied for the third-most passing touchdowns allowed (seven).
"Every week is different. They have familiarity with us, so that's a little bit of a different thing," offensive coordinator Mick Lombardi said of the Chargers. "They know what we do, we know what they do. I think you have to look at it from a singular mindset and say, 'OK, what can we control first?' And play and go from that. 'What do we have confidence in?' and go from that.
"We have to fit our personnel into what we can feel comfortable with against their scheme. That's what we try to do on a weekly basis, and that's what we're trying to do against L.A."
4. Missing man in the trenches
Despite the amount of passing yards the Chargers have allowed, they've been on par with the league average in sacks. However, a huge piece of their pass rush could be in jeopardy with linebacker Joey Bosa ruled questionable (hamstring) for Sunday.
5. The challenge of Justin Herbert
Justin Herbert is a problem. He's been a problem.
Despite the Chargers' 1-2 record, the quarterback has been lights out. Herbert is continuing to reach new heights, leading the league in completion percentage (74.4) with six passing touchdowns and no interceptions – all while the Chargers are averaging nearly 29 points a game. In three seasons against the Raiders, Herbert has a 3-3 record with a 14:1 touchdown to interception ratio.
"He's one of the best quarterbacks in the league," Maxx Crosby said. "He can make all the throws. He's athletic, young, hungry player. I love competing against him and I've got a lot of respect for him, but I definitely look forward to getting after him."
6. Can former Charger get more "dirty work" done?
Jerry Tillery returns to SoFi Stadium after playing with the Chargers for four seasons, and could have an impact this Sunday.
The 2019 first-round pick compiled 10.5 sacks in his career in L.A., adding his first one with the Silver and Black in Week 1 this season. The defensive lineman has played in multiple spots across the line for the Raiders. With Tillery's ability to pass rush from the interior and off the edge, a good performance from him could be crucial against an impressive, but banged up, Chargers offensive line.
"JT is an unselfish guy, plays a lot of roles, wears a lot of hats, does a lot of dirty work. Sometimes, it doesn't get noticed," McDaniels said. "He's been very durable for us out there all the time. Guys like that, you don't have 10 of them, so it's really beneficial if you can have one or two guys that can kind of provide depth on the roster on gameday in multiple cases, multiple spots, in case you run into some injury. He's a valuable part of our team."
As the Raiders prepare for Week 4 against the Los Angeles Chargers at SoFi Stadium, view past matchups of the Silver and Black hosting their division rival.