5 key Matchups for Eagles to Win on the Road in L.A. vs Chargers
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The Eagles are heading back out on the road for the third time in four games. It will be in a very unique NFL setting when they face the Los Angels Chargers in the 27,000 seat Stub Hub Center. The Chargers haven't won yet this season, but do have some very good talent and can be a scary team, especially since their season is on the brink.
Here are some things to look at for Sunday vs the Chargers
Eagles offensive line vs the Chargers’ pass rush
Even though the Chargers haven't been very good against the run, ranking 30th in the league at 146.7 yards per game, they can get to the quarterback, the Eagles still have to worry about the Bolts pass rush. In the first three games, the Chargers have 11 quarterback sacks, tied for second best in the league. Los Angels has two very good pass-rushers in Joey Bosa and AFC defensive player of the month, Melvin Ingram.
Obviously establishing a running game early would help and make life easier for Carson Wentz. Last week the Eagles were able to do a good job against the Giants pass-rush, but this week will be another tough task.
Eagles secondary vs Chargers wide receivers.
The Chargers have some very good options in the passing game, Keenan Allen, Travis Benjamin and Tyrell Williams all possess different skill sets. The Eagles banged up secondary gets a boost with Rodney McLeod expected to return this week. But the interesting match ups will be the Eagles corners, up against the Chargers wide outs.
Expect to see the Chargers take some shots down-the-field, with the Eagles missing Fletcher Cox, the Eagles pass-rush might not be ferocious as usual, giving Phillip Rivers some more time to throw the ball to his talented assortment of receivers.
Toss in tight ends Antonio Gates and Hunter Henry, and the Eagles secondary will have their hands full with the Chargers receivers.
Eagles' identity on offense
Once again, the Eagles are entering a game with question about what they are going to do on offense. As they showed last week in their win over the Giants, the key is getting the running game going. Wendell Smallwood is expected to get more work with Darren Sproles out for the season, and you can expect to see more work for LeGarrette Blount and rookie Corey Clement.
As I mentioned before, the Chargers are not very good against the run, giving up 146.7 yards and 4.7 yards per carry. If the Eagles can get in the 25 carry range this week, they should fine plenty of room to run against this Chargers rush defense.
Will Alshon Jeffery have a breakout game?
Jeffery had a big game against the Chiefs, two weeks ago with seven catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. While tight end Zach Ertz has been Carson Wentz favorite target so far, the play that set up Jake Elliott's 61-yard kick, showed the kid of wide receiver Jeffery brings to the offense. Say what you want about Jeffery and how the team has used him so far, but he is has the ability to give the Eagles a difference making player each week.
The Chargers will be without starting corner Jason Verrett, who is done for the season with a knee injury, but you can expect him to see plenty of Casey Hayward, who is a very good corner. The Chargers will have Trevor Williams, who is a question mark, on the other side and if the Eagles can go after him, they should find some big plays in the passing game.
How will the Eagles handle the loss of Fletcher Cox?
The Eagles face a tough loss on Sunday, playing without star defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. You can expect to see more of Beau Allen, who is fine in stopping the run, but one of the things that make the Eagles so successful on defense is their pass-rush. Led by Cox, and Tim Jernigan, the tandem has been a handful for opposing guards this season. Will Jernigan have the same impact without Cox around? The Chargers offensive line isn't one of the strong areas of their offense, but they do have some very good skill position players. If they can't put the pressure on Phillip Rivers he can have a big day with some good weapons.
The Pick: Chargers 31, Eagles 28
Sal Pal on Eagles vs Chargers:
Outside View: Matt Smith, LA Chargers play-by-play voice.