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LA Chargers: 3 matchups that will determine Week 1 outcome vs. Washington

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Kenneth Murray
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2. Kenneth Murray vs. Antonio Gibson

The one area that the LA Chargers have always seemed to struggle in defensively is stopping the run and the one thing that the Washington Football Team is going to look to do is run the football.

Yes, the team has an upgrade at quarterback but it is not like Ryan Fitzpatrick is some elite quarterback. In fact, Fitzpatrick ranked in the 20s in our latest Bolt Beat consensus starting quarterback rankings. With a really talented running back in Antonio Gibson, Washington should be looking to run the ball.

Luckily, the Chargers have a new defensive spearheaded by Brandon Staley, who turned the Rams from having an average defense to the top defense in the league last season. If anyone is going to help fix the mistakes in stopping the run it is Staley.

Kenneth Murray is the most important player on the field when it comes to stopping the run. Murray is the traditional hard-nosed, run-stuffing linebacker who got better as his rookie season went along in 2020.

Murray is going to be asked to do more of the things that he is good at in 2021 and that means plugging the running lanes and attacking the ball-carrier. While it is unfair to expect the team to completely shut down Gibson, the performance of Murray is likely the difference between a big day and a quiet day for Gibson.

If the LA Chargers can slow down Antonio Gibson it is going to force more second/third and longs for Washington, which will lead to more punts and fewer points.