Eagles are going Cali livin on Sunday for the first time in a few years. The (2-1) Eagles seek their first non divisional win against the (0-3) Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers have had their continual struggle of not being able to win close games but this year they are doing it in front of an alarmingly low amount of fans. StubHub Center is usually a soccer stadium but for the next few years, it is the home of the San Diego turned Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers have had trouble attracting fans to the stadium as they can’t fill a stadium that can only hold 27,000 fans. The worst part is that most of the fans that have went to the Chargers home games so far have been the opponents fans. Miami Dolphins fans that came from over 2,700 miles away and Kansas City Chiefs fans that are from 1,600 miles away showed up strong. So look for Eagles nation to show up strong and make the StubHub Center bleed green.
Bradford ruled out for third straight week
Last week against the Giants, the Eagles finally decided to run the ball. The weakness for the Chargers defense is stopping the run. It is pretty obvious what Doug Pederson’s gameplan should be as the Chargers have proven to be lock down on pass defense. The Chargers have only garnered a total of 176 yards per game against the pass. Even with the low yardage, they have given up 5 touchdowns and had only one interception with a passer rating of 104.7. Now for how bad the Chargers have been this year at stopping the run. The Chargers are currently ranked 31st in run-defense as they have gave up an astonishing 146.7 yards per game on the ground. The Eagles ran for 193 yards last week on 39 carries against the worst rush defense in the league as of right now. Veteran and highly respected running back Darren Sproles will no longer be apart of this running back group as last week he suffered a few unfortunate injuries. Sproles tore his acl and broke his arm last week which effectively ended his season. Wendell Smallwood is the one most likely to pick up the snaps that Darren Sproles usually got. He had a solid week last week as he went for 71 yards on 12 carries and he ran tough. LeGarrette Blount will also look to receive more carries this week as he finally looked like the runner the Eagles wanted when they signed him. Blount went for 67 yards on 12 carries with a touchdown. The Chargers gave up 171 yards and a touchdown last week to rookie sensation, Kareem Hunt. So look for Blount and Smallwood to eat against the Chargers. Eagles also signed Kenjon Barner who played with the Eagles last year. He will also seek to take some of the snaps that the Eagles are going to be missing with the absence of Darren Sproles. The offensive line will look to continue their strong play from next week against a ferocious pass rush that the Chargers possess. Joey Bosa is a young stud and his partner in crime, Melvin Ingram, is currently second in the league in sacks with a total of 5.5. This will be a matchup to watch as the Eagles star tackles, Lane Johnson and Jason Peters, will look to stop that star studded duo the Chargers have coming off the edge. Eagles currently have a question mark at left guard as coach Pederson has not yet made his decision of who will be starting to between Peters and Jason Kelce yet. Stefen Wisniewski is probably the best option right now as he had a great game last week and graded as the third best guard by pro football focus. Carson Wentz will look to continue to his solid sophomore season that could become a great one if he gets control of his deep ball accuracy. Wentz was able to have a turnover free game last week and will look to do the same as he will most likely not be asked to throw very much. Zach Ertz will also look to continue his phenomenal start to the 2017 season as he leads tight ends in receptions and yards. The Chargers did hold the elite, Travis Kelce, to only one reception and one yard last week. Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith will look to rebound after an undelightful game last week against the Chargers secondary.
The Eagles played a good three quarters last week but struggled mightily in the important fourth quarter. Jim Schwartz played way too conservative as the corner didn’t play press which gave the pass rush little time to get to Eli Manning. All he threw was quick routes and Philip Rivers most likely will try to do the same after watching last week’s film. Rivers has struggled in his fourteenth year as he has four touchdowns compared to four interceptions with a QBR of 81.7; that would be the lowest of his career as a starter. He still is an extremely intelligent quarterback though and can tear up a defense when he is on his a-game. He has a good group of receivers to throw to in Keenan Allen, Hunter Henry, and Travis Benjamin. There is also good old-reliable Antonio Gates in the redzone. Eagles will need to get to Rivers to keep sure he doesn’t get the ball in those playmakers hands. Fletcher Cox is going to be out so Beau Allen will need to step up. The Birds had zero sacks last week against the Giants but will look to change that to a Chargers offensive line that isn’t that good. Schwartz might try playing Graham or Curry at the three-technique on passing downs with Derek Barnett or Chris Long taking their spot on the edge. Rookie cornerback Rasul Douglas, Patrick Robinson, and Jalen Mills played solid last week. Now as they did give up a lot of passing yards, mostly in the fourth quarter, that was mostly because of the absence of safety Rodney Mcleod. Mcleod will be back on the field on Sunday though which should help the Eagles immensely. For the run game however, the Eagles are going from a terrible running group to one with a lot of talent. The Chargers have dual threat back, Melvin Gordon, who can change the complexion of a game very fast. Gordon hasn’t had the best start of the season as he is only averaging 3.3 yards per carry throughout the first three games. Last week was his best game though as he averaged a nice 4.6 yards per carry and a touchdown. Gordon does have 16 targets so far with 12 receptions, 90 yards, and a receiving touchdown. One factor that can really affect how he plays Sunday is how sore his bruised knee is; which he got banged up last week against the Chiefs. This offense can be as potent as an offense can get if not treated right.
Special Teams Preview
The Eagles took a big hit last week in the return game as they lost one of the best to ever do it, Darren Sproles. Torrey Smith and Kenjon Barner will look to continue Sproles underrated success on special teams. Both of whom have never scored a touchdown on special teams. Last week the special teams for the Eagles played very poorly. Donnie Jones wasn’t punting too well and the return game wasn’t up to standards. A bright spot was Jake Elliott, he did miss a long field goal but he also made the longest one in Eagles history to win the game. Put him in the hall of fame already. The Eagles are ranked as the tenth best special teams unit through three games; the Chargers rank dead last according to football outsiders. The Chargers rookie kicker Younghoe Koo has had a not so delightful start to his career as he is 2-for-5 on field goals with one being blocked. Koo has proved to be the difference for the Chargers as he missed a couple of key field goals that could’ve won or tied the game for the Bolts. The Eagles need to improve their special teams back to the top three spot they were for the last few years.
The Chargers are 0-3 but everyone knows that the record does not necessarily explain this unheralded great team. The Chargers are going to be hungry and doing whatever possible to get themselves on the win column. The Eagles are the better team and their record shows it. This should also be counted as a ninth home game for them as the Chargers fans haven’t made an impact at all yet. The Eagles should be able to do what good teams do and win the games they need to.
Eagles Win 24-16