5 Things to Watch: Eagles vs Chargers
Entering the second week of the NFL season, the Philadelphia Eagles are up against a team that seems like it has every reason to lose today's game, you can say the Eagles are almost expected to win.
The San Diego Chargers had the Houston Texans down and out last week on Monday Night Football, but find themselves with an early 0-1 record following a loss to Houston, giving up 17 fourth quarter points in the process. The Eagles and Chargers each have a new head coach, but a win for the Eagles and loss for the Chargers and the two teams will have totally different mindsets for the rest of 2013.
Will the Eagles jump out to a surprising 2-0 start under head coach Chip kelly? Here are some things to watch for during their upcoming contest:
1) Opening it up
- Amidst a solid debut for quarterback Mike Vick, the Eagles didn't take too many opportunities to pick up big yardage on down-field passing plays. Vick was very effective throwing the ball short against Washington, 13-15 for over 150 yards. Vick did a very good job in play-action, but could lean on LeSean McCoy again this week against a Chargers defense that looked like it ran out of gas against Houston. But if the Chargers key on McCoy this week, Kelly could dial up some down-field passes and look for the big play.
2) Secondary struggles
- In their Week 1 win against Washington, the Eagles' secondary wasn't exploited nearly as much as it could have been. While cornerback Cary Williams had a solid game, with a sack and a pick, cornerbacks Bradley Fletcher and Brandon Boykin and safeties Patrick Chung and Nate Allen still were part of a defense that game up 329 yards passing in the win. This week with Fletcher out, Phillip Rivers is likely looking at the depth charts for the Eagles this week licking his chops.
3) Can they Keep Up?
Last week the Eagles got off to a fast start, using tempo and a running game that left the Redskins looking lost an unprepared. This week the Chargers have the Eagles on tape, but how much of the offense did the Eagles show? Today on ESPN Countdown, Adam Schefter siting someone close to the Eagles says they have barely scratched the surface, and have used only about 30-percent of the play-book. The Chargers got off to a fast start aganst the Texans on Monday, Rivers was crisp in the first half, tossing three touchdowns to give the Bolts a 21-7 lead heading into the break. However, With 9:38 to go in the fourth quarter, Rivers threw one of his patented pick-sixes to Brian Cushing to allow the Texans to tie the game at 28-28. Houston later capped off the comeback with a last-second field goal from Randy Bullock to finish the come-from-behind victory.
4) Don't sleep on Bolts Backs
- Ronnie Brown led the Chargers' running backs in snaps in Monday night's loss, Brown played 25 snaps to Ryan Mathews' 20, and Danny Woodhead's 10, showing the versatility the Chargers can display in the backfield. Even though the Chargers ran just 20 times for 80 yards, they were effective, gaining four yards per carry in the process. The trio added six catches for 62 yards and a touchdown. The Eagles bottled up Alfred Morris on Monday night, but can't sleep on the Chargers lesser known backs.
5) Rivers and the passing attack?
- Philip Rivers completed 14-of-29 passes for 195 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception in the Chargers' Week 1, 31-28 loss to the Texans on Monday night. He was efficient in the early going, hitting for four touchdown passes - two of which went to Eddie Royal. Royal seemed to be Rivers' favorite option on the night, pacing the Chargers with six targets. Malcom Floyd caught one pass for 47 yards in the Chargers' Week one loss and old reliable Antonio Gates caught two passes for 49 yards in San Diego's loss to the Texans.
Eagles inactives: CB Bradley Fletcher, QB Matt Barkley, DB Shaun Prater, G Matt Tobin, T Dennis Kelly (back), DL Vinny Curry and TE Emil Igwenagu.
Chargers inactives: ILB Manti Te'o, QB Brad Sorensen, WR Seyi Ajirotutu, SS Brandon Taylor, LB Terrell Manning, G Johnnie Troutman and DE Drake Nevis.
Prediction: Eagles over Chargers
- The Eagles were the talk of the NFL with their fast-paced offense in week one, this week they face a Chargers team coming from west-to-east, on a short week, after a heart-breaking season opening loss. The Bolts only had three days to prepare for Kelly's offense that has barely scratched the surface. While I think the Eagles defense keeps the Chargers in the game, there is to much stacked-up against San Diego this week.
Eagles 42, Chargers 28