When the Los Angeles Chargers go into Cleveland on Sunday, there will be some important matchups to look out for.
The Chargers have a huge opportunity to get to 4-2 on Sunday, a mark that would be their best record at Week 6 since 2014, when they started 5-1. The Cleveland Browns have been much better this season than they’ve been in the past and provide some interesting challenges for the Chargers. Let’s talk about the matchups.
1. Cleveland running backs vs. Chargers’ Defense
The running game for the Browns has been interesting this year. The veteran Carlos Hyde takes most of the runs, but Nick Chubb was dominant in just three runs versus the Oakland Raiders, totaling 105 yards.
If he gets more snaps, the Chargers could have a problem on their hands. And while most people only talk about those two backs in regards to the Browns, I also think about Duke Johnson. He, like Chubb, hasn’t touched the ball a lot this year, but I think he could be dangerous catching passes and maybe he gets a couple rushing attempts.
I think the Chargers’ D has been good this season, and it’s been particularly good against the run the last two weeks, when they’ve had to go against runners like Marshawn Lynch and Matt Breida.
In terms of average yards allowed per rush this year, the Chargers have allowed 4.1 yards as opposed to the five yards they allowed per rush last year. If they can stop the Browns running backs and put pressure on Baker Mayfield to throw, I like the Chargers’ chances to win this game.
2. Browns’ D vs. Philip Rivers
Damarious Randall and Denzel Ward have been two standouts for the Browns in the secondary this season. Former 1st overall pick Myles Garrett and line mate Larry Ogunjobi have put pressure on opposing offenses this year.
But Philip Rivers is a new test for them. The MVP candidate (yeah I’ll go there) has thrown for 13 touchdowns, two interceptions, 70 percent completion percentage and a 116.4 passer rating.
He’s been nothing short of brilliant, and for a Browns team that has mainly faced guys like Sam Darnold, Derek Carr and Joe Flacco, it’s easily the biggest challenge put in front of them so far.