LA Chargers’ secondary will be tested early in the season
By Faustino Felix
The LA Chargers secondary will have to prove itself early on in 2020.
The LA Chargers adding Chris Harris to their already stacked secondary was one of the most talked-about moves in free agency. With stars like Casey Hayward and Derwin James playing with Harris, the consensus around the league is that the Chargers possess one of the best secondaries in the entire NFL.
However, they will need to prove their status with a few games against high-powered offenses in the first five weeks. The Chargers start the season with a game away against No. 1 overall pick Joe Burrow and his Cincinnati Bengals.
The Bengals aren’t considered a great offense yet, but if things click quickly for offensive-minded coach Zac Taylor and his new signal-caller, the Chargers could be in for a tougher game than expected.
Burrow is surrounded by enough talent to make things happen, with A.J. Green back from injury, along with the reliable Tyler Boyd, a talented running back with good receiving skills in Joe Mixon, exciting rookie Tee Higgins and John Ross, who actually led the league in receiving yards after two weeks last season with 270, before going down with an injury.
Their downfall is their offensive line, so Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram will have to be at the top of their game to capitalize on this weakness and make things easier for the secondary.
Next up will be the Bolts’ first game at SoFi Stadium, and they will face none other than their division rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs. Patrick Mahomes, Tyreek Hill and company don’t need much introduction. What’s scary is that an already stacked offense added another piece in first-round running back Clyde Edwards-Helaire.
The Chargers already proved they can slow down Mahomes, as they limited him to under 200 passing yards in both games against the Chiefs last season; Mahomes finished with a 2-2 touchdown-interception ratio in those games.
The Chargers get a bit of a break through the air in Week 3, when they’ll host the Carolina Panthers and their new quarterback, Teddy Bridgewater.
The new-look Panthers under Matt Rhule and Joe Brady are not expected by many to be a scary offense through the air right off the bat, but they do possess an underrated and versatile trio of young wide receivers in D.J. Moore, Curtis Samuel and Robby Anderson, as well as one of the best receiving running backs in Christian McCaffrey.
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After that, they will get a chance at revenge against a very old rival who just rejected an offer to join the team. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers suddenly boast one of the scariest offenses on paper in the entire league, with their brilliant receiving duo of Mike Evans and Chris Godwin being joined by none other than Rob Gronkowski.
Tom Brady will command that potent offense, but the Chargers will try to do anything to get some payback on the 42-year old who has a 9-2 record against the Chargers (including a 3-0 playoff record).
After that tough game on the road against the Bucs, the Chargers have to travel to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome and face the New Orleans Saints. Back to back road games on the East Coast is never an easy challenge, let alone against one of the best performing teams in recent years (Saints) and an old nemesis on one of the most stacked offenses.
Drew Brees has played the Chargers three times since joining the Saints, and he won all three outings. The Chargers’ secondary will have their hands full trying to contain the powerful offensive duo of Michael Thomas and Alvin Kamara, along with Jared Cook and newly arrived Emmanuel Sanders.
After these five challenging matchups, the LA Chargers’ defensive backs will get to breathe a little with games against the Jets, Dolphins, Jaguars and Raiders, followed by a bye week on Week 10.
If they manage to hold their own in these first five tough games, the LA Chargers’ secondary will be well on their way to cementing their status as the top defensive backfield in the NFL.