The Los Angeles Chargers host the Philadelphia Eagles at the StubHub Center. Here are six things to watch for:
The Chargers will play at home for the third consecutive time on Sunday. They won their last two meetings against the Eagles, including a 33-30 shootout win in 2013 that ended on a Nick Novak game-winning field goal with a few seconds remaining in the game.
2013 also marked the last time the Chargers made the playoffs. Speaking of playoffs, the Chargers have dug themselves in an early hole, a really gigantic hole filled with the most deadly of animals, including Bill Cosby, after losing their first three games of the 2017 season. Will the team finally click on all cylinders? Let’s hope so.
With that said, here are few things to watch for on Sunday:
Will the Chargers’ offense please stand up?
You know what the Chargers’ offense and actor Nicholas Cage have in common? They are both so unbearable to watch when they are on the tube that you actually start to have a laugh when watching them perform. The offense, which had high expectations going into the season, needs to pick it up. They are averaging 16 points per game, tied for 26th-best in the league, and rank 29th in third-down conversion percentage (30.3). With the weapons they have on offense, this shouldn’t be happening.
Not only that, but head coach Anthony Lynn needs to be more aggressive on fourth downs. Keenan Allen was fuming after the Chargers didn’t go for it on a fourth-and-3 late in the third quarter on the Chiefs’ 40-yard line with L.A. down by seven. The Chargers’ defense was playing great and I would have had confidence in them stopping the Chiefs’ offense had the Bolts failed to convert on fourth down. Also, Lynn had a chance to go for a long field goal (Chiefs’ 35-yard line) early in the fourth but was likely afraid to send out a rookie kicker who has had a rough start to the year. Can’t play the game like that.
Hunter Henry, where art thou?
Zero. That’s the number of targets Henry received in two of the three games the Chargers played this season. When the team got him involved in Week 2 vs. Miami, Henry caught 7-of-7 passes for 80 yards. Wasn’t Henry supposed to be the team’s No. 1 tight end this season? Offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt needs to make an adjustment, because Henry, who has done a solid job when it comes to run blocking, is a mismatch in the passing game. Take advantage of that.
Can somebody make a tackle?
You need to tackle the opposing team in order to stop them from gaining more yards. What I just said is almost as insightful as President Trump letting the world know that Puerto Rico is an “island surrounded by big water.”
The Eagles’ D can’t fly with all these broken parts
The Eagles’ best defensive player, defensive tackle Fletcher Cox, is officially out. That’s huge for a Chargers’ offensive line that has done fairly well in pass protection but struggles in run blocking. Their secondary is also missing a few players. Safety Corey Graham and cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Jaylen Watkins won’t play, and strong safety Rodney McLeod, who didn’t play last week, is questionable with a hamstring injury. Starting linebacker Jordan Hicks is also questionable with an ankle injury, but he should be good to go after a full week of practice.
Will Philip Rivers bounce back?
My man Philly Rivs didn’t have a good game. Actually, it might have been the worst game I’ve ever seen him play. He threw no touchdowns and three interceptions (could have been more) while completing just 50 percent of his passes. His 37.2 QB rating was the fourth-lowest of his career, as noted by L.A. Daily News’ Jack Wang.
— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) September 30, 2017
The sad part was, the protection was good and there were open receivers on all of the interceptions. Rivers’ decision-making was baffling. It’s hard to hate on a guy who has literally kept the Chargers in so many games over the years, but he has to cut down the turnovers. He’s getting up there in age, but I’m not one who thinks this is the end for Rivers–at least not yet.
Will “The Melvins” continue their streaks?
Melvin Gordon has scored a touchdown in three straight games. Melvin Ingram has at least one sack in three straight games. I’m taking the over on both of these guys.