Chargers at Rams Week 6 Preview
Chargers on Offense
Philip Rivers is simply unbelievable. He currently leads NFL with 1,759 yards and is tied with some guy named Peyton for first in the league with 11 touchdown passes.
I am convinced that no one or two people can cover Antonio Gates. He had five catches for 92 yards last week and scored another touchdown. With a touchdown this week, he can pass Lance Alworth by catching scoring grabs in 10 consecutive games.
Vincent who? Malcom Floyd is killing Vincent Jackson’s bargaining leverage. Floyd had a gargantuan day against the Raiders last week, catching 8 passes for 213 yards and a touchdown. Many of those numbers were against all world cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha. The Rams don’t have anyone near the caliber of Asomugha, so expect another large day from Floyd.
An injury to Legedu Naanee may open the door for Patrick Crayton and Buster Davis. Crayton has been looking for a chance since being forgotten about on the Dallas Cowboys bench. Rivers has mentioned he likes throwing the ball to Davis. Could be a big day facing the 22nd rank pass defense.
It appears the now very, very wealthy left tackle Marcus McNeill will see his first action after his holdout. His replacement, Brandyn Dombrowski, who played terrific in his absence could be moved to right tackle in place of Jeromey Clary or find himself on the bench. The Chargers have depth now in the offensive line, which will pay dividends as the season goes along.
Mike Tolbert either needs to hang onto the ball or stand on the sideline. It’s fun watching the big guy rumble down the field, but all the yards he’s gaining are wasted when he puts the ball on the ground.
Ryan Mathews is still not 100%, but will see action again this week. When he has been in the game, he has been impressive. As his ankle and elbow get healthier, his touches on offense will increase.
Rams on Offense
Running back Steven Jackson is in striking distance to set the Rams franchise record for rushing yards. He needs just 141 yards to pass Eric Dickerson (7,425). Last week, he ran for 114 yards against the improving Lions defense. He will be fed the ball early and often against a Chargers defense which surrendered 100 yards to Oakland’s Michael Bush.
For the Rams to have any chance at all, they will need Jackson to get the Rams in third and short situations. If rookie quarterback Sam Bradford is forced to drop back and pass the ball deep, it will be a long, painful day for the former Sooner.
Bradford has shown he is a very capable quarterback during the first five weeks of the season. He was the first overall pick in the 2010 draft and has exceeded many of the expectations that come with being drafted so high.
The Rams signal caller has passed for 1159 yards and eight touchdowns so far this season. Last week, the St Louis offense was dealt a big blow when wide receiver Mark Clayton was lost for the season with a torn patellar tendon.
Danny Amendola steps into the number one receiver role. Last week, he had12 catches for 95 yards against the Lions. A group of Mardy Gilyard, Laurent Robinson and Brandon Gibson will be Bradford’s other deep targets.
Tight end Michael Hoomanawanui who showed good chemistry with Bradford during the preseason will see significant action this weekend. The rookie from Illinois gives Bradford a huge target. At 6-5 and 270 pounds, he will be a load to tackle if he gets the ball in the open field.
Chargers on Defense
Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer should be able to handle the inexperienced Rams receiving group. The two starting cornerbacks have done a splendid job this season shutting down opposing receivers.
An area of concern has to be at linebacker. With injuries and the imminent release of Shawne Merriman, the linebacker group is paper thin. Antwan Applewhite appears to have the first crack at playing outside in place of Merriman until Larry English returns from injury.
The three other starting linebackers, Kevin Burnett, Stephen Cooper and Shaun Phillips have all played very well this season. Burnett and Phillips have been playing at a Pro Bowl level.
Reality is, one more injury to one of the linebackers and San Diego could be in deep trouble. There are not many quality, healthy players to turn to.
Rams on Defense
This is a bad, bad match up for St Louis.
If St Louis is going to have any chance to slow down the San Diego super offense, they are going to have to find a way to put pressure on Philip Rivers. That task falls on shoulders of defensive ends James Hall, who has four sacks and three fumble recoveries last three games, George Selvie, who is second on the team with two sacks and Howie’s kid, Chris Long.
If a combination of those three can’t put pressure on Rivers, second year cornerback Bradley Fletcher, who leads the team with two interceptions and Ron Bartell, who has not picked off a pass since 2008, will be chasing Malcom Floyd all over the field.
All three starting linebackers for the Rams played college ball at Ohio State. Veteran Na’il Diggs who had many successful years with Green Bay and Carolina is the leader on defense. Diggs and Larry Grant are the outside linebackers in the St Louis 4-3 defense.
Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis who had a celebrated career at Ohio State, leads the defense with 33 tackles. The son of professional wrestler Animal of the Road Warriors, brings toughness and will not be afraid to step up and face Mike Tolbert in the hole.
Chargers Special Teams
Oh the humanity!
A different week, a different special teams disaster. Having seemingly figured out the kick return coverage problem, the Chargers decided to show a flaw in a different area by allowing the first two punts in last week’s game to be blocked.
Has there ever been a team that has had five weeks of such atrocious special teams weeks? What was once a strength of the San Diego Chargers, has now become one of the biggest reasons the team is under.500.
Rams Special Teams
Here are the returner names you need to know…Danny Amendola on punt returns and Marty Gilyard and Keith Toston share kickoff return duties.
None of these guys are spectacular, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do damage against the Chargers.
Call me a sucker, but I just can’t pick against the Chargers when they play an such an inferior team. If San Diego does not win this game, I will not pick them to win ANY road games this season.
Philip Rivers will continue to play out of his mind and have another huge, huge game. Then, he will hand off to Tolbert and Mathews who will put the game away in the second half.
The Rams offense will not be able to keep up.
Again, barring any turnover problems or special teams meltdowns, this sound not be a competitive game.