The LA Chargers begin the 2021 season with a tough road test against the Washington Football Team. There are tougher possible Week 1 opponents, but with the starters not playing in the preseason, facing a tough defense on the road is less than ideal.
That being said, Charger fans still have to feel confident about their team in this one. While Washington was a playoff team last year, most of their wins last season were against terrible teams and they did not improve much.
They did get a better quarterback in Ryan Fitzpatrick, who is still one of the lowest-ranked quarterbacks in the league. If Brandon Staley is the real deal the Chargers should win this game.
It is far from a guarantee, though, and if the Bolts do not achieve specific things in this game then the outcome might not be favorable.
The 3 keys to the LA Chargers defeating the Washington Football Team in Week 1:
1. Success running the football
I know, I know. Anthony Lynn is out of town and the last thing any Charger fan wants to think about is pounding the rock. While the Bolts do not have to pound the rock per se, there is a lot of opportunities in the run game that cannot be overlooked.
This is the area of the Washington defense that showed the biggest holes last season. While they were still fine against the run, they did rank 13th in yards allowed, 10th in touchdowns allowed and 11th in yards per carry.
Not terrible numbers, but there is opportunity there for the Bolts. This is going to be a tough test for Justin Herbert, as it is his first game in front of a true packed home crowd as a road team, and making his life easier with shorter second and third downs are huge.
Of course, if it is not working then the team needs to pivot and not do what they did last year and insist on running the ball more than they should.