The LA Chargers look to avoid a three-game losing streak heading into Tampa Bay. What do they have to do to get the win over Tom Brady’s Buccaneers?
Following a disappointing performance against the Carolina Panthers, the pressure is on the LA Chargers to avoid a 1-3 start. Historically, teams have had better odds of making the playoffs after starting 2-2 than losing three out of their first four games. It’s also important to win against Tampa Bay because of the Saints potentially having Michael Thomas back from injury next week.
Tom Brady struggled in the first game of the year, but since then he’s rebounded with two good performances against Denver and Carolina. Like on many recent Brady teams, it’s not the offense that concerns me. The Tampa defense ranks top five or top ten in several statistical categories. While the secondary isn’t the best, that defensive line may just be the best in the league.
1. Blocking Shaquil Barrett
When it comes to pass-rushing, Shaquil Barrett is the Bucs’ main weapon. Last year, Barrett recorded 19.5 sacks to lead the entire league. His explosiveness has already led him to 15 pressures, 13 hurries, and two sacks in this season.
Barrett is especially troubling in a week where the Chargers will be missing both Bryan Bulaga and Trai Turner. There’s significantly less margin for error for Sam Tevi to make mistakes. That’s not the worst thing in the world, considering how well Tevi has played through the first two weeks. It’s impossible to stop Barrett completely though, as the Chargers can really only hope to contain him.
I also wouldn’t be surprised if Barrett switched sides on some snaps to matchup with Trey Pipkins. Pipkins played well against the Chiefs but completely fell apart against Brian Burns on the edge. The Bucs will certainly notice that on film.
If the Chargers contain Barrett, it helps them in not losing any more leverage than they already have to Tampa’s defensive line. If they don’t, it could be a very, very long day at the office for Justin Herbert.