The Los Angeles Chargers kept it close with their division rivals, the Kansas City Chiefs last week and now face a struggling Arizona Cardinals team. They showed flashes of their full potential on offense primarily due to the return of Mike Williams and Keenan Allen. If the Bolts can get healthy down the stretch, there’s a lot of potential for this team to go far. Against Arizona, Kyler Murray is expected to return and give the Cardinals offense a boost. It’s a must-win game for both teams if they want playoff chances.
Matchups to Watch
Chargers Passing Game vs Arizona Secondary
The offense was much better moving the ball against the Chiefs. This was likely due to them being healthier. Against a subpar Cardinals defense, they should continue their efficiency. The Cardinals defense allows the 10th most passing yards per game in the NFL. I’d expect the LA to be moving the chains by moving the ball through the air. Depending on the status of both receivers, I’d expect the passing game to come out of the gates hot in the same way they did against the Chiefs.
James Conner vs Chargers’ Run Defense
The Chargers currently have the third-worst rushing defense in the league so I’d expect the Cardinals to run the ball often. Last week against the Chiefs, Isiah Pacheco put on a show leading them to victory. Although James Conner isn’t the most threatening runner, the Cardinals’ run game could threaten them. The Cardinals could also commit to a more run-heavy approach to keep Kyler less involved as he returns from injury.
Run Game vs Cardinals’ Front 7
Austin Ekeler has had a tough time getting it done as a pure rusher against tough defenses this year, but Spiller showed promise last week. He’s been used more as a receiver and usually because LA needs to throw to stay in games. They need to commit to a single second back behind Ekeler instead of the rotations they’re currently going with. Sony Michel hasn’t impressed. His yards per carry is actually less than Joshua Kelley‘s, but he still has more attempts. Isaiah Spiller needs time to earn his role in this offense, so Kelley is the front-runner to claim the RB2 spot in the backfield
Chargers 4th Quarter Woes
A major theme in the Chargers losses this year has been the inability to close out games. They’ve kept all their games coming out of the bye within one score. That’s not the place you want the team to be in especially when it comes to the playoffs. It seems this offense could score 30 points, but the defense would still end up giving up 33. The spread right now is three which seems pretty likely for this game as well. This is something to watch for the rest of the season as they can’t keep winning the close games and losing them as well.