Saturday, November 14, 2009

Chargers vs. Eagles

The Chargers, by virtue of their poor play on national TV earlier in the season, have worked themselves into a sleeper role, while the Eagles are still asleep. I think the Eagles come into this game a bit overconfident that they can handle a "finesse" AFC West opponent with their bruising, NFC East ways, and end up running into the buzz saw of confidence the Chargers will bring at home.

Both teams are 5-3 and both really need this win to stay competitive in their respective divisions, so San Diego fans will be treated to another playoff-like atmosphere. Once again, what more can we ask for?

The Eagles have been thriving on the big play abilities of their extremely fast and dangerous young receivers, Jeremy Maclin and the explosive DeShaun Jackson. However, Dallas had success last week and exposed these smaller receivers a bit by beating them up at the line of scrimmage and bumping them off their routes. Look for San Diego to do the same. Jammer and Cromartie have been absolutely stellar the past few weeks.

While we were all complaining about how horrible the defense was, they figured something out in the past weeks. Most Charger fans would be surprised to hear that San Diego has the 6th ranked pass defense in the NFL. Many of the sacks the last few weeks can be attributed to opposing QB's holding the ball a bit too long because nobody's open. In addition to the great play of the corners, Eric Weddle has hit a groove. Also, those huge breakdowns with wide open receivers haven't happened since the Chargers cut Clinton Hart. Ellison, Gregory and Oliver have provided enough smart play to shore up the gaps in the secondary.

Ron Rivera seems to have found the secret ingredient to help out the defense get off the field on third down: the safety blitz. The mere threat of the blitz forces opposing QB's to get rid of the ball a beat faster than they were earlier in the season (think of all the time Big Ben had). The Chargers will limit and harass Donovan McNabb more than he expects this week.

The Eagles' defense is aggressive in getting after the quarterback and the Chargers' offensive line will have to be at its best this week, but they seemed to also take a step forward last week in their ability to pick up the blitz. Rivers will be sacked this week, but he will also have enough time to get the ball down field enough for San Diego to score points.

The Charger running game will most likely continue to founder, but LT will be enough of a decoy to open holes for the receivers on play-action passes.

San Diego 28, Philadelphia 17

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