The preseason is officially behind the LA Chargers as the team now gears up to host the Miami Dolphins in Week 1 of the 2023 season. While one game will not decide the fate of the entire season, it is imperative for the Chargers to get off to a hot start, especially against a potential AFC playoff foe.
This game could end up having big tiebreaking implications in the AFC playoff picture four months in the future. That definitely is not lost on the Chargers or the Dolphins.
The Chargers got the best of the Dolphins when these two teams met last season despite not having both Rashawn Slater and Trey Pipkins. This time around, Miami is the team that might be dealing with offensive line problems.
Chargers would catch a huge break if Terron Armstead doesn't play for the Dolphins
Terron Armstead is one of the best left tackles in the entire sport. The four-time Pro Bowler played 13 of the Dolphins' 17 games last season and the difference between him playing and not playing seemingly impacted the outcome.
Miami went 1-3 in the four games that Armstead missed last season and averaged 16.25 points in those four games. The only game Miami won was in Week 18 when the team defeated the New York Jets in an 11-6 slugfest.
It would be one thing if the Dolphins had a quarterback that can withstand pressure but that is not the case for Tua Tagovailoa. Not only does Tua need a clean pocket to operate in the offense, but his health concerns from a year ago are naturally going to play a factor in how he performs under pressure.
The Chargers certainly have the pass rushers to make this a big deal for the Dolphins as well. Joey Bosa and Khalil Mack got very little time to actually play together last season but when they did it was lethal. Mack started the 2022 season off with three sacks of Derek Carr and that very well could happen in this matchup if Armstead does not play.
Tua was pressured 11 times in this matchup last season and that was without Bosa and with Armstead playing. That number could be even higher in Week 1. With a questionable secondary, Miami could be in for a lot of trouble against the Bolts.