The LA Chargers are on the road this week against the 3-5 Philadelphia Eagles. The Bolts have dropped two straight contests and sit dangerously in the last spot of the AFC's playoff picture. At 4-3, it's time for LA to bounce back against Philadelphia and get momentum in their favor ahead of some more difficult games.
Looking ahead, the Chargers will face the Vikings in Week 10, followed by a contest with the Steelers. Minnesota is 4-3 and in a similar position to the Bolts, so that game could go either way. Pittsburgh is riding a three-game win streak into competitions with the struggling Bears and Lions, so they could be on a five-game high by the time they get to LA. This is a week-to-week league, but the Chargers have to get a convincing win on Sunday and move to 5-3 to stay afloat at this point in their season.
A one or two score game won't fit the bill. We know LA likes to keep it close for whatever reason, but Sunday needs to be lights out. It's hard to come in a dominate on the road against an opponent who just has their best game of the season, especially coming off of a troubling loss, but the Chargers need to find a way to make it happen.
Here are 3 keys for the LA Chargers to get a convincing win against the Eagles in Week 9
3. Continue improving Chargers run defense
The Chargers run defense has been abysmal this season. They are allowing the most rushing yards per game and the highest rushing first downs of any team in the league.
Part of the problem is consistent double and triple teams on edge rusher Joey Bosa. Opposing teams have been able to break down the run defense by taking Bosa out of the equation and daring another player to make a stop. So far, that's worked pretty well to the dismay of LA's defense.
It's hard to watch Bosa be so heavily stunted each game without any support from his teammates. No other player has consistently stepped up for the Bolts and played well enough to demand pressure off of Bosa and that same game plan from opponents is stunting them every week because of it.
Last week against New England, stopping more runs from a solid Patriots rush attack was the chief focus for the Chargers defense. Thanks in part of the return of Justin Jones, there were definitely a few improvements that signified a potential upward trend in the run-stopping department. LA stunted New England total rushing yards to 141 throughout the game and held them to an average of 3.6 yards per carry.
Head coach Brandon Staley praised his defense's improvements after last week's game, saying "I felt like our run defense took an incredible step forward today. I thought we tackled extremely well. I thought we were really physical. Getting Justin Jones back was important."
All signs are pointing to an improving run defense, and that's going to have to keep improving if the Chargers want a comfortable win in Week 9. Philadelphia is ranked sixth in average rushing yards per game at 131.6, and coming off of an explosive 236-yard performance against Detroit last week. If LA wants to keep the Eagles from hanging around, they have to be better on the ground and force Jalen Hurts to try and make strides through the air.