Chargers X-Factors Vs. Eagles
I obviously write about the x-factors for the upcoming game, but I like to at least go into a bit of the previous game. Many Chargers fans for good reason are rather upset for the past two games. I’m actually more disappointed by how they played against the Patriots than how they did against the Ravens. Coming off the bye, the Chargers were outplayed in nearly every aspect of the game. Don’t look at the final score and assume that it was close, during the second half it never seemed particularly close.
We move on, the Chargers didn’t make any moves at the trade deadline which seems to give the idea that they aren’t all in this season. No matter what your feelings are, if you would’ve known going into the Eagles game they would be 4-3, that would’ve been considered a positive.
Enough of the previous game, let’s get into the Chargers matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles.
X-Factor 1: Chargers Secondary
The Chargers have already announced that Michael Davis and Asante Samuel Jr. are both out for this game with different injuries. Losing your #1 and #2 corner the same week is definitely not ideal. Then today, they added Tevaughn Campbell to the injury report with an injury. Being added this late in the game is never a good thing.
Brandon Staley definitely has his work cut out for him this game. He is known to have such a great scheme that can buoy up weaker players. This is going to be put to the test this week with lesser players being put into starting roles, namely Ryan Smith and Kemon Hall who have primarily been special teams players.
The Eagles have a pair of quality pass catchers in DeVonta Smith and Dallas Goedert. The Chargers’ defensive backs will have to make sure they are at the top of their game. Something that we have all come to know is that the Chargers have quite a terrible run defense. I have got to the point where I just prefer teams to throw the ball every time. If the defense isn’t at the top of their game then they will be at a significant disadvantage throughout the course of this game on defense.
X-Factor 2: Catch The Ball!
This has been the most frustrating part of this season in my opinion. For some odd reason, the very talented pass catchers on the Chargers have decided to not catch the ball at high enough level.
Keenan Allen has six drops this year, and breakout wide receiver Mike Williams has five, while veteran tight end Jared Cook has four. All are within the top five in the NFL at their respective positions, which is obviously not a top-five group you want to be part of. Many people have discussed if it’s a lack of timing, Justin Herbert throwing off-timed passes, or many other factors. While I see the legitimacy of the concerns that people have, I believe it to be rather simple. There are things that can make it more difficult to catch the ball, but when it comes down to it these are professionals, plain and simple. They need to focus and just need to catch the ball, games are changed by these kinds of errors.
The Chargers had three drops in critical situations last game, two of them being on third down and another leading to an interception. Imagine if they did one of the easiest things of the game and caught the ball, the odds of them winning is much higher at that point.
X-Factor 3: First Down Offense
What has been going on with this offense? There seems to be a lot of confusion that leads to critical mistakes. The Patriots took control of the game when Herbert threw a pick-six due to miscommunication with Cook. A bad first-down offense puts the Chargers into tough situations where they are having to try and get ahead of the sticks. This is where the pressure comes and mistakes are made.
Herbert has the same average depth per target as Mac Jones, who is known to dink and dunk. It seems that Joe Lombardi has brought the Saints offense over and didn’t account for how massive Herbert’s arm is. They need to work the middle of the field more and take more chances on first down. Keenan is obviously the go-to option on third downs, but why can’t he be on first down as well? Keenan working the middle of the field in the 10-20 yard range will completely open this offense up.
This is the chance to be able to get the season back on track. Patriots have always had the Chargers number so last week wasn’t a shock. Despite a few injuries, there is no excuse for losing this game against an obviously inferior opponent.
Final score prediction, Chargers 31, Eagles 23