The San Diego Chargers enter their bye week at 4-3 and are in contention in AFC. They are coming off back-to-back wins and are playing very well in all three aspects, offense, defense, and special teams. Their next opponent is the Washington Redskins (2-5) who were gaining some momentum of their own the past couple weeks after a slow start. The Chargers will have the tough task of stopping Redskins QB Robert Griffin III through the air as well as on the ground.
The Redskins are coming off a huge 45-21 loss to the Denver Broncos after holding their own in the first half before becoming unraveled in the second half.
Here are a couple of the keys that the Chargers could be focusing on during their bye week to have success against the Redskins.
Stopping the run
The Redskins have one of the best running games in the league, 4th best in the NFL, and coming off a game a couple weeks ago against the Bears were they amassed 209 yards on the ground. They have the pistol formation that causes all sorts of misdirection for RGIII and running back Alfred Morris, who is a handful himself. The second year back is averaging 5.2 yards a carry and has compiled 472 yards. He is coming off
another good game against the Broncos rushing for 93 yards and a td. RGIII has been getting increased designed run plays and looks more comfortable with the knee brace than he had earlier in the season.
The defensive front for the Chargers are going to have to plug the holes and take on multiple offensive lineman to free up Manti Te’o and Donald Butler to stop the run. Defensive lineman Corey Liuget and Kendall Reyes will have to play disciplined and stay contained on the edges to make sure RGIII doesn’t run wild out of the pocket.
Offensive line play
The Chargers have had to do more patchwork on their offensive line than a guy who fixes leaky roofs in the Rain Forest. They were down three starters in their week 3 matchup against the Titans and have to fill in with back ups the first half of the season. The Chargers first round pick, Right Tackle D.J Fluker, sustained a concussion and was out a couple weeks but has come back strong and continues to play at a high level. He was the recipient of the ‘Pepsi Next Rookie of the Week’ for his week 7 play against the jags. The offseason acquisition, Left Tackle King Dunlap, who also suffered a concussion in the win over the Jaguars, is back practicing and will play Sunday, yay bye weeks! The Chargers are also getting Left Guard Chad Rhinehart, who was out with a toe injury. Second year player Johnnie Troutman did a great job filling in for him and will provide confidence and experience going forward.
While the offensive line comes together and gets healthy as a unit, if they can continue their outstanding play and keep Rivers on his feet, he will tear apart the Redskins subpar secondary.
The bye is always a week of rest and recovery for players but it also applies to fans like the Chargers, who have near cardiac arrest every game. Looking ahead, the defense hasn’t given up a touchdown in two weeks and with some players coming back healthy and our offense playing at a high level, I feel confident the Chargers can get it done this week against the Skins.
Prediction: Chargers 27 Redskins 23
Also, shout out to Phillip Rivers and his wife Tiffany as they welcomed their seventh child today, a baby girl. (With 9 family members now, I heard Phillip is running scout Offense with his family). Congratulations!