Elite QB Battle
The Chargers are coming off one of their most devastating losses in recent history. The task at hand is a task no team has been able to accomplish, beat the defending super bowl champion Green Bay Packers. The Packers come into San Diego at 7-0 with MVP candidate Aaron Rodgers at the helm. The Bolts have had many experts jump off their bandwagon; a win versus Green Bay would prove they are an elite team. Here are my keys to the game for the Chargers to win.
Pressure Aaron RodgersDespite San Diego having the 4th rated pass defense, Chiefs quarterback Matt Cassel picked the Bolts secondary apart. Nothing against Cassel, but he is a very average quarterback in this league. San Diego’s assignment this week is a daunted one and seemingly impossible, try to limit Aaron Rodgers. If Rodgers has time to sit in the pocket, his solid receiving core leading by wide out Greg Jennings will put up over 30 points. Therefore, the Bolts must get pressure on Rogers. The problem, Chargers star pass-rushing line backer Shaun Phillips will probably not play again. The Bolts only had one sack a week ago and will need to improve upon that number to win. With the absence of Phillips, rookie Corey Liuget and linebacker Antwan Barnes will be the Chargers best shot at creating havoc for Rodgers. The unique part of Rogers’s game that differentiates him from Tom Brady is his ability to run. Rodgers can beat opponents with his feet similar to how Steve Young used to for the 49ers. If San Diego doesn’t get to Rodgers, their defensive line must at least get their hands up and hope for a tipped ball possibly causing a turnover.
Dominate Time of PossessionThe Chargers best defense this week may be their offense. If San Diego can effectively run the ball, it will keep Aaron Rodgers off the field. The less time Rodgers has on the field means he has less time to find his rhythm and score points. Chargers running back Mike Tolbert returns to action this week. Tolbert provides this offense with a downhill, physical back that also posses just enough speed to break a long run. However, the Bolts will likely be without Ryan Mathews due to a groin injury. Matthews has played very well this year; however still can’t find a way to stay healthy. His absence will open the door for Curtis Brinkley. San Diego will also obviously need a good effort from quarterback Philip Rivers. Rivers needs to make sure his team has few three and outs because his defense well need all the rest they can get. The Bolts must posses the ball for at least 35 minutes and ideally closer to 40 to get a victory.
Control Field PositionPlain and simple, the Bolts need their special teams to play special. Aaron Rodgers can lead his team from anywhere, but in order to make his job a little tougher, San Diego needs him to start drives deep in his own territory. Not only does San Diego need to force Green Bay to have long fields but also San Diego needs to have good field position. The Chargers kick return game has been in existent this season and needs to help set up Rivers succeed more often. Under new special teams coach Steve Crosby, the kick and punt return coverage have been solid, a drastic improvement from a year ago. They need to keep up the effort against a great young wide out and return man, Randall Cobb. If San Diego’s kick and punt returns succeed don’t be shocked in San Diego pulls off the upset.
Play PERFECTNo one can be perfect right? Well, the Chargers will need to be nothing less than perfect to get a victory over the Packers. Despite the Chargers being a solid home team, they are clearly the under-dogs this weekend. San Diego has disappointed their fans after a fast start to the season. Green Bay has lived up to their lofty pre-season hype and more. The Bolts can win this game, in order to do so they can’t afford to turn the ball over or commit penalties. Not only does SD need to play well but also must catch a couple lucky breaks. The Chargers have struggled in the red zone and need to cash in for touchdowns to remain competitive with the Packers high-powered offense. In conclusion, San Diego needs to play up to their potential to beat Green Bay.
PS. Philip Rivers is struggling, and just as confident as I was last week that he would turn it around, is as confident I’m he will not perform well this weekend. (Hopefully reverse psychology works) Green Bay has great cornerbacks with Tramon Wiliams and hall of famer Charles Woodson.
Prediction:Packers over Chargers 31-24