Chargers catch breaks early on with schedule
By Tyler Schoon
For the first three weeks of the 2017 NFL regular season schedule, the Chargers may be catching a few breaks.
NFL players and coaches always repeat the same mantra during press conferences: to not look ahead to other games, and to only focus on the season one game at a time.
Well, I’m neither a player nor a coach, so look ahead I shall.
Week One opens with a Monday Night Football clash against a division rival in the Denver Broncos. Aside from a Thursday victory last season, the Chargers have been dominated by the Broncos for years. Their key to success has always been to unleash their relentless pass rush against Philip Rivers and a struggling offensive line, backed up with one of the best secondary tandems in the NFL.
However, the Chargers may be catching a break in their season debut. DeMarcus Ware no longer suits up for Denver. Shane Ray is expected to miss the first few weeks of the season. Derek Wolfe has been banged up in the preseason, dealing with an ankle injury that forced him to be carted off the field. The Bolts’ ability to set the tone at the line of scrimmage is paramount, and a Broncos’ front without their biggest stars from last year has to have Rivers chomping at the bit.
In their season opener, the Chargers head to StubHub for a revenge game against the Miami Dolphins after losing to them 31-24 last season. Despite a horrendous showing from Rivers in the fourth quarter of that game, it was truly a strong performance from Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill that spelled defeat for the Chargers.
Well, Tannehill isn’t playing against the Chargers. In fact, he isn’t even playing this year.
After undergoing season-ending surgery for a knee injury, the Dolphins picked up Jay Cutler to lead the team at quarterback. I don’t envision a scenario in which Cutler is a better option than the improving Tannehill, and there’s no chance the former is completely comfortable with the playbook by the second week of the season after being signed only weeks earlier.
It’s not a guarantee the Bolts will win, but facing a team at home without its franchise quarterback bodes well for their opener.
In Kansas City, Spencer Ware recently went down with an injury that will likely keep him out of Week 3 action when they face off against the Chargers. That leaves rookie Kareem Hunt to take the starting role, and while he does show promise (I just took him in fantasy football), it would still be hard to fill Ware’s role.
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The first three weeks have presented themselves with an opportunity for the Chargers, and one they need to take advantage of. Players and coaches can never count on winning games solely based off the health of other teams, but opposing teams losing key players does increase the chances of victory. It may help Los Angeles find footing in their new home, and give fans early optimism moving forward.
What do you think about the recent “luck” for the Chargers? Are there any games further down the season where you see some things opening up for the Bolts? I think the loss of Julian Edelman and Sammy Watkins by the Patriots and Bills, respectively, will be huge moving forward. Comment below and let us know, and as always, thanks for reading. You guys are the best.