Chargers vs. Rams: Breaking down the key matchups in ‘Battle of Los Angeles’

By Travis Wakeman
SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 23: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers throws a pass against the St. Louis Rams at Qualcomm Stadium on November 23, 2014 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
SAN DIEGO, CA - NOVEMBER 23: Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers throws a pass against the St. Louis Rams at Qualcomm Stadium on November 23, 2014 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) /
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CARSON, CA – DECEMBER 10: Running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers carries the ball on a 33 yard run down to the Washington Redskins four yard line on the final play of the first half on December 10, 2017 at StubHub Center in Carson, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA – DECEMBER 10: Running back Austin Ekeler #30 of the Los Angeles Chargers carries the ball on a 33 yard run down to the Washington Redskins four yard line on the final play of the first half on December 10, 2017 at StubHub Center in Carson, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) /

How do the Chargers win this game?

I see Ekeler and Mike Williams as the key players on offense, particularly in the passing game. However, they will only be effective if Gordon can get something going on the ground. He doesn’t necessarily need to have a 100-yard rushing game, but he does need to gain at least 60-70 yards on at least 20 carries. That will help keep the Rams’ defense honest and could open some space in the passing game.

On defense, the key to the game is the linebackers having the room to make quick tackles on Gurley to limit the damage he does. Gurley is going to make some plays in this game, but as long as he doesn’t find the end zone three or four times, like he’s capable of doing, the Chargers should be OK.

Finally, the Bolts need a play on special teams or a mistake from the Rams on special teams. Perhaps Sam Ficken, filling in for the injured Greg Zuerlein, misses a field goal or two. Or, the team gets a big gain on a punt return to help set up the score.

The Chargers need to win in all phases of this game if they are going to avoid a 1-2 start to the year.

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All of the pressure is on the Rams

With all of that being said, the pressure is on the Rams to win this game.

The Chargers don’t to worry about a bunch of Rams fans showing up in StubHub Center. This game will be played at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which one would think will be littered with Rams fans. After all, L.A. belongs to the Rams, right?

The Rams played in Los Angeles from 1946-1994 before coming back in 2016. The Chargers are the team that L.A. “doesn’t want”, or so many fans in Los Angeles claim.

So what if the Chargers were to use this huge stage to beat the Rams inside their own stadium and perhaps turn some of those Rams fans into Chargers fans? It’s not like there’s an avalanche or loyalty toward a team that has only been in the area for three seasons. And with so many options for sports teams in the area, many of these fans go with the “hot” thing, right?

The Chargers have a great chance to tip the scales on Sunday.

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