Chargers website Staff Predicts the Game… [BoltsfromtheBlue.com

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Last Sunday was sloppy. Last Sunday was ugly. The good news is as poor as theChargers played they still had an opportunity to win on the final drive. Through all the mistakes, that’s the sign of a good team. Let’s get into how the team will fare against the Vikings.

When the Chargers have the ball

Leaky Line Play

We knew the Bengals would be good up front, but were they supposed to be that good? Chis Hairston got his 1st career start at right guard and had the unfortuante task of facing Geno Atkins the majority of the time. To no ones surprise, he struggled.

The 1st part of the vine isn’t even Atkins. I’m not going to spend the majority of time criticizing Hairston considering it was his 1st start and the majority of his struggles came against one of the best interior defenders in the league. Thank goodness he practiced today, but D.J. Fluker was sorely missed on Sunday.

It won’t get much easier against the Vikings. 330 pound defensive tackle Linval Josephdominated the Lions last week. He owned the line of scrimmage and most of his work came over the right guard. However, he’s not going to solely line up on 1 side. That’s where Orlando Franklin comes into play. One of the reasons I was very high on the offensive line coming into the year was the addition of Franklin. He was lights out for theBroncos a year ago. Through 2 games Franklin has the most blown blocks on the team. He’s certainly done plenty of impressive things, like get out in space and make plays. The areas he has struggled are the areas that you wouldn’t expect a guy of Franklin’s talent to struggle. For example, keeping your head up, your hands in side while you go to engage/punch, and redirect your feet.

Joseph will be a handful but off the edge Brian Robison will be an even bigger problem. Like Joseph, Robison was actively in the backfield last week. Unfortuantely, Chris Watt and Joe Barksdale were in the backfield just as much a week ago. It was essentially King Dunlap and everyone else struggling until the whistle. Here’s how the line fared.

Player Blown Block (R) Blown Block (P) Plus blocks QB Hit Sack Penalty
Dunlap 0.5 1 2
Franklin 4 1 2 1.5 1
Watt 1 2 2 0.5 1
Hairston 4 5 0.5 3
Barksdale 1.5 2 1.5 2
Green 2 1

I’m sure Mike Zimmer is licking his chops after last week thinking of all the fake blitzes(the Vikings have actually blitzed much more than the usual Zimmer team this year) he can deploy to get his guys 1-on-1 and after the QB. Because of the different array of rushers and the Chargers recent struggles: Advantage, Vikings.

More Gordon and Woodhead sets?

The Lions had success with 2 true running backs on the field. After the games both Danny Woodhead and Melvin Gordon had last week, breaking 5 and 4 tackles while gaining 15 and 57 yards after contact respectively and considering Ladarius Green’s status is up in the air, I’d imagine the Chargers take their short passing game to a whole different level. The Vikings will play tons of Nickel and while their linebackers have good athleticism, they’re not great at finishing plays.

In that same situation, Eric Kendricks missed 2 other tackles just like that a week ago. I would put the pressure on him and Anthony Barr to tackle the backs in space. This is exactly where San Diego excels and should help them pick up a couple cheap 1st downs. Because of this, advantage Chargers.

Problems on the Perimeter

The Vikings have baby Weddle in their secondary in Harrison Smith. He’s awesome. He can do just about anything and do it at a high level. It’ll be interesting to see who he matches up against, especially if Green doesn’t play. He’s the best player on the perimeter out of this matchup. The runner up is corner Xavier Rhodes, who shadowed Calvin Johnson last week and did about as well as you can considering it’s Calvin Johnson. Rhodes is a freak athlete that has go-go gadget arms and has the physicality to not let you off the line. Johnson did have a couple nice releases to shake loose from Rhodes, so if Rhodes does in fact shadow Keenan Allen, that’s where he’ll have to win at.

Would love to see Malcom Floyd step up here against the veteran Terrance Newman but Allen is the type of receiver that would give Newman problems, not the 1 trick pony type Floyd. Though he played well last week, I’d still take Stevie Johnson over Captain Munnerlyn, who is the Vikings slot corner. From the slot, teams haven’t been able to find an answer for Johnson. He’s caught 11 of his 12 targets and that one Philip Rivers missed him high. Johnson should be the intermediate target that is the big chain mover this week. I wasn’t impressed with the “other” safety but was so impressed with Smith that I give the advantage to the Vikings.

When the Vikings have the ball

This is like the undercard, for me, anyways. The Vikings offensive line has been up and down. The Chargers have been inconsistent at best at getting pressure early on this year. Tackling is still a problem for this defense who is still looking for that 3rd guy to step up after Eric Weddle and Corey Liuget.

A moveable object meets a moveable force

This would be the offensive line you would want to go against. The Vikings starting left guard is…..drum roll…Mike Harris!!! Their tackles are shaky and just as a whole I certainly wouldn’t say they’re playing well. But then it’s back to the Chargers up front who outside of Liuget, could’ve produced just as much if they hadn’t gotten off the bus.Ricardo Mathews put up his 2nd donut in a week, Jerry Attaochu was invisible, andMelvin Ingram missed more tackles than he made. In 10 snaps rookie Darius Philon out played every front 7 member not named Liuget. That’s not ideal.

Something has to give, though. We knew last week would be rough for Ingram. This week should be the opposite. He should be able to out athlete both tackles and have success. The Vikings have the 19th best offense per DVOA and are 28th in adjusted sack rate. Because of that, advantage, Chargers.

Gooooood Luck

Adrian Peterson is averaging 5.5 yards per touch and he still has that extra gear to accelerate past defenders. Donald Butler is playing better and more aggressive but there are still a few “wtf” plays a game. In two games Manti Te’o has missed 10 tackles. TEN.Advantage, Vikings

Know Your Opponent

John Pagano coached under Norv Turner and you’d think would have a pretty good idea of his tendencies. A lot of people think with a 7-step drop offense that you’ll automatically just heave it downfield. Turner asks his QB Teddy Bridgewater to work the 8-15 range of the field, with the occasional shot play. I do like this matchup for the Chargers. Weddle can guard Rudolph, but will more than likely be the extra guy in the box ensuring Peterson doesn’t break a long run. In the red area, Rudolph does appear to be Teddy’s 1st read, so I’d look for Weddle to be paying closer attention to Rudloph there.

Jason Verrett, who had his 1st real bad game in the NFL, can matchup with the speedy Mike Wallace. Brandon Flowers can matchup with the crafty route running of Charles Johnson.  Last week the two had nightmare games. They gave up 7 catches in 12 targets, 5 blown coverages, 3 TDs and 2 1st downs. That can’t happen against and I don’t think this is the group to take advantage of them. I do worry about Bridgewater extending plays and making precisethrows on the run or even with his legs, however I believe the secondary bounces back and creates a turnover this week. Advantage, Chargers.

Staff Predictions:

Kyle: After an early turnover the Chargers get out to a fast start. Stevie scores again and after a big run I get to make jokes about how San Diego’s 28>Minnesota’s 28. The Vikings stick to their gameplan by not abandoning the run and Peterson has a couple long plays. There’s a big reverse because Ingram doesn’t maintain gap responsibility and also allows Bridgewater to get out of the pocket and make plays. Joseph and Robison are just too much to deal with off that right side and Lambo misses a field goal for the 3rd straight week in a row. Vikings 23, Chargers 21

SDNativeinTX: AD AP goes off for some big runs, but the Vikings D can’t handle the short passing game as Woodhead, Stevie Johnson, and KA13 have big days.  Gordon again flashes some chunk runs.  Neither defense looks particularly good, but the Bolts do get a couple of turnovers that prove to be the difference.  Chargers 31 Vikings 24.

Richard: Adrian Peterson and the Vikings offense run all over the Chargers defense. The Chargers move the ball, but settle for field goals early. That comes back to haunt them.Vikings 24, Chargers 20

Jordan: Peterson has another signature day and while the Chargers pass rush gets to Bridgewater, the second year signal caller routinely frustrates the Bolts with both his arm and legs. Philip Rivers and co. are once again less than sharp thanks to the problems up front. Gordon continues to impress and Keenan Allen rebounds but its too little too late as San Diego falls on the road for the second time in as many weeks. Vikings 27, Chargers 23

Gennaro: Back to back road games is too tough to handle, and the Chargers’ lines are currently a work-in-progress (at best), so I think they get pushed around and end up losing this one after a late surge. Vikings 28 Chargers 25
Richard: Adrian Peterson and the Vikings offense run all over the Chargers defense. The Chargers move the ball, but settle for field goals early. That comes back to haunt them.Vikings 24, Chargers 20

Garrett: It’s a bounce back game for the Chargers secondary, which probably says more about the Vikings WRs than the Chargers DBs, Adrian Peterson rushes for over 100 yards and Melvin Gordon gets his first NFL touchdown on Sunday. Chargers win, 23-20.

Kevin: A lot of people are lumping this game in with the week 2 game against the Bengals because of the consecutive early road games. However, the Vikings are significantly less talented, especially on the offensive line. It won’t be pretty, but the Chargers win 29-24

Jeff: AP aside, the Chargers’ pass rushers not staying in their rush lanes and allowing Bridgewater to extend plays /scramble for 1st downs scares me. However, the Vikings don’t have the weapons that Cincinnati had. I also think Rivers and Gordon has easier going against the Vikings defense. It’ll be close, but the Chargers manage to avoid the boneheaded mistakes of the 1st 2 weeks and get a road win. SD 27-MIN 23.

Ruben: I think this is the game that the Chargers have a chance to have success on both sides of the ball. I’m expecting a lot of pressure from John Pagano’s defense this week. From all indications, the Minnesota Offensive Line could be had with well-timed blitzes. The linebackers will have to play fundamentals this week with Adrian Peterson looking to gash the Chargers defense. I think the most concern I have is the secondary which will be lining up against an all-star track team in Wallace, Patterson and Johnson. Offensively, the Chargers need to stay aggressive and that includes before halftime.Chargers 31-17.

Jamie: This seems like a favorable matchup for the Chargers on paper.  The Vikings feature a young quarterback relying on a patchwork offensive line and a fairly middle of the road defense.  I think the Chargers actually come out relatively hot early, build a two score lead and hang on to win a close one as AP runs wild. Chargers win 24-17.

Mattew: The Chargers want to bounce back after a sloppy loss and not lose ground in the AFC West.  The defense bounces back in the pass rush department and gets a few sacks, but Adrian Peterson runs all over the defense.  Melvin Gordon continues to trend upwards and actually does get his first TD this week, and Keenan bounces back. Chargers win 28-24.

http://www.boltsfromtheblue.com/2015/9/25/9396395/can-the-chargers-rebound-after-a-tough-loss-staff-predictions

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