Chargers Week One Key Matchups: Washington Football Team

Chase Young hits Patriots quarterback Cam Newton in a preseason game.

Chargers Week One Key Matchups: Washington Football Team

The NFL regular season is finally here and the Los Angeles Chargers will kick off their season on the road against the Washington Football Team. Washington is a tough, gritty football team and the Chargers have a few tough matchups on their hands to begin the Brandon Staley era. 

The Chargers heading East right out of the gate isn’t the best scenario, either, but at least they get to head home after to face the Dallas Cowboys in the beautiful SoFi Stadium.

The Chargers want to get off on the right foot, as does every team, but they will have a few players they need to stop on Washington.

Here are three matchups to watch for the Chargers opener against WFT.

Matchup #1: Chase Young vs Chargers offensive line 

The Chargers famously spent a ton of money and brought in a bunch of talent on their offensive line during the offseason. They signed Corey Linsley, brought in Matt Feiler and Oday Aboushi. The Chargers highlight of the front line is Rashawn Slater, who somehow dropped to them during the 2021 NFL Draft.

However, the Football Team has Chase Young, the talented edge rusher who went second overall in the 2020 NFL Draft and was a complete monster in his rookie season.

Young played in 15 games and had 7.5 sacks in his rookie season, a number that should reach double-digits as he gets more acclimated to the game in year two.

Young is too quick and strong for just about anybody in the league, and the Chargers’ offensive line will have to work together to contain him on Sunday.

Matchup #2: Antonio Gibson vs Chargers linebackers

Washington has a shifty, and highly talented running back by the name of Antonio Gibson. To be honest, he can cause major problems due to his versatility, and the Staley era begins with the daunting task of containing him on Sunday.

The Chargers linebackers are going to be primarily finding ways to stop Gibson, especially in the passing game. With Joey Bosa and Uchenna Nwosu rushing the passer, Kenneth Murray and Kyzir White are going to have to keep an eye on Gibson.

Of course, the defensive schemes will be something to monitor, and we all know how good Staley is at organizing the defense.

But, it won’t just be the linebackers, either, because Gibson can line up outside and catch passes, which would create even more challenges for the Chargers’ defense.

Rest assured, Staley and the defensive unit have indeed watched their fair share of Gibson tape and should be ready when Sunday rolls around.

Matchup #3: Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen vs the Washington Secondary 

The Washington secondary was a sneaky good group in 2020 and figures to be the same in 2021. Ron Rivera has always preached defense, so this shouldn’t be surprising.

Justin Herbert was sensational in his rookie year, obviously, and he has been garnering some MVP buzz ahead of his sophomore season. But, Sunday won’t be an easy task, and frankly, the entire regular season schedule poses its own challenges for Herbert in year two.

Washington’s defense finished 4th in points against last year, 6th in sacks, and 5th in interceptions. That is a tough unit, and they won’t take any steps back in 2021 as they aim to repeat as NFC East division champions.

Keenan Allen also has his hands full on Sunday. Kendall Fuller and William Jackson are the starting corners for Washington, and Landon Collins can still play at a high level at the safety position.

Joe Lombardi, the Chargers’ new offensive coordinator, will have his hands full and need to get creative to free up space for Allen and–more importantly–find ways to get Herbert time and space to operate.

We all know Keenan Allen is arguably the best route-runner in the game and can catch just about anything thrown his way, but this is a difficult matchup for the Chargers’ top wide receiver to begin the year with.

If the Chargers are going to leave FedEx Field with a victory in hand, these matchups will have to swing towards the Chargers’ side of things. This is an incredibly interesting matchup overall because of all of these storylines, as well as the coaching matchup between two fantastic defensive minds in Staley, and Ron Rivera.

Prediction: Chargers 27, Washington Football Team 20 

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Chase Young hits Patriots quarterback Cam Newton in a preseason game. Via PelegIt’s social media page.