Los Angeles Chargers: How big of a factor will Miami’s long layoff be?
By Travis Wakeman
The Los Angeles Chargers will make their regular season debut inside StubHub Center this Sunday, but the game will be played under abnormal circumstances.
Abnormal because a team is coming off of a bye to start the season. That scenario wasn’t planned, but the natural disaster known as Hurricane Irma kind of forced the league’s hand.
As a result, the Miami Dolphins come to Los Angeles fresh as can be. The starters haven’t played since the third week of the preseason, which dates back to August 24.
The Chargers, meanwhile, are will go into the game on a short week, having played into the late hours of the night on Monday in Denver.
For me, this could be a huge factor and even a deciding factor in this game. Though it wasn’t originally planned, the Dolphins seem to have a huge advantage going into this game. They could have made the cross-country trip to Los Angeles last weekend if they would have liked and been in L.A. even before the Chargers. At minimum, the Dolphins got to practice and prepare for the Chargers without the risk of injury or fatigue to players.
On the bright side, the Chargers are the home team. Their fourth-quarter rally in Denver on Monday night could have led to them being 1-0 as easily as they are 0-1. However, a win over the Dolphins here is almost a must. If not, they’ll be looking at an 0-2 record with the Kansas City Chiefs on the docket next.
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The Chicago Bears will be in the same boat and they’ll have to go on the road to face the other team that had a Week 1 bye, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Looking at things from the other end of the spectrum, those teams will have to play a game the next 16 weeks in a row and that will be even more if they make the playoffs. Still, for Week 2, the odds seem to be in their favor.
Of course, there will be those who say that it may be better to be in a rhythm from having just played a game. But ask yourself, would you rather be a bunch that has had basically three weeks to get ready for this game or one that is playing just six days after a tough matchup on the road that went until after 11:00 p.m. in the mountain time zone?
I’d go with option A.
Though the Chargers are the home team on Sunday, they have a tall task in front of them. Miami is coming off a playoff appearance and they have a 53-man roster that is fresh and ready to hit the field.
On top of that, Miami came into San Diego and knocked off the Chargers last year. They might be even better this year.