By Abraham Gutierrez
Coming off a well-deserved bye week, the (4-3) San Diego Chargers will try and extend their winning streak to three games as they travel to the nation’s capital to take on Robert Griffin III and the struggling (2-5) Washington Redskins in Week 9.
FedEx Field in Landover, Md., will be the site for this interconference showdown, scheduled to kickoff Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) on CBS.
Trying to Stay In the Race
This Week 9 matchup consists of two teams desperately trying to stay in the NFL playoff race, as the second half of the 2013-14 NFL season gets underway.
For the Bolts, keeping pace in the ultra-competitive American Football Conference will come down to winning the games they’re supposed to, and thus, avoid playing down to the level of the competition.
This week is a perfect example of that, as Philip Rivers and Co. take on a Redskins squad that’s tied for 12th place in the National Football Conference and is desperately trying to climb back into contention – two and a half games out of the final NFC Wild Card spot.
If the NFL playoffs started today, San Diego would sneak in as the sixth seed and would take on Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC’s opening round. In contrast, RGIII and the ‘Skins would probably be researching warm vacation spots to spend the next several months.
Different Strokes For Different Folks
Luckily, San Diego and Washington can clinch a postseason berth, given there’s plenty of football left in the season and a variety of playoff scenarios to explore.
In the case of the Chargers, with the AFC West out of reach, their playoff hopes will likely come as a Wild Card recipient, which is where they stand at the moment.
For the Redskins, it’s the opposite, as it would probably be easier to get in as a division champ – given that the NFC East is so feeble this season – rather than depend on others to fail in order to get ahead.
In either case, here’s where each team fits in its respective divisions heading into what should be a very entertaining Week 9 clash:
AFC West Standings (Week 9)
- (8-0) Kansas City Chiefs
- (7-1) Denver Broncos
- (4-3) San Diego Chargers
- (3-4) Oakland Raiders
NFC East Standings (Week 9)
- (4-4) Dallas Cowboys
- (3-5) Philadelphia Eagles
- (2-5) Washington Redskins
- (2-6) New York Giants
What A Difference a Bye-Week Makes
Heading into their (Week 7) matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Chargers injury report resembled an emergency room registry than anything else.
With 12 aching bodies listed – evenly distributed: six on offense and six on defense – first-year coach Mike McCoy was fortunate to have the Jags on his radar.
Following a much-needed bye week, the margin has been trimmed to only six banged-up players, which is great news heading into what appears to be a typical “Trap Game” with the Redskins.
Following Thursday’s team practices on Oct. 31, 2013, the Bolts submitted the following Week 9 Injury Report to the National Football League (Final Week 9 Report will be submitted Friday afternoon):
San Diego Chargers Injury Report (Week 9)
Wide Receiver/Kick Returner – Eddie Royal (Toe) – Did Not Practice (Pending Friday’s Report): Leading the team in touchdown receptions entering Week 9, Royal has been instrumental in the Chargers sixth-ranked passing attack. His injury occurred during second quarter of the Colts game (Week 7), but he’s been able to contribute and play through the pain. He did participate in Wednesday or Thursday’s practices, and will likely be listed as either “doubtful” or “questionable” for Sunday. It’s worth noting that he also missed a full week of practice following the Indy game and was listed as “questionable” against the Jags. Nevertheless, he was still able to give it a go on game day, recording 4 grabs for 69 yards and a score.
Guard/Tackle – Mike Remmers (Ankle) – Did Not Practice (Pending Friday’s Report): After placing Mike Harris on season-ending Injured Reserve, the Bolts signed rookie offensive-lineman, Remmers, from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers practice squad. It appears the Oregon State product is headed for the shelf after making his Chargers debut last week in Jacksonville due to an ankle injury.
Free Safety – Eric Weddle (Toe) – Full Practice (Pending Friday’s Report): Leading the team in tackles (47, 37 solo), Chargers fans have to be pleased with the fact that Weddle was able to participate in full team practices both Wednesday and Thursday. San Diego will need the seventh-year man out of Utah – considered one of the most versatile free safeties in the league – at his best to contain RGIII in this pivotal game.
Guard – Chad Rinehart (Toe) – Limited Practice (Pending Friday’s Report): After starting in each of the first three games of the season, the former Bill has been sidelined due to a lingering toe injury. Even though he has not played since a 30-21 victory over Dallas, he did partake in limited practices for the first time since the injury occurred Sept. 29.
Outside Linebacker – Jarret Johnson (Hamstring) – Full Practice (Pending Friday’s Report): Tied with Corey Liuget for team honors in the sack-department (3.0), full participation on Wednesday and Thursday’s practices has to make defensive coordinator John Pagano smile. In his 11th season out of Alabama, Johnson has registered 19 tackles (12 solo), but has been sidelined for the past two games with a hamstring injury.
Inside Linebacker – Donald Butler (groin) – Did Not Practice (Pending Friday’s Report): After missing the last two games with a groin injury, the team’s third-leading tackler (31, 25 solo) appears to be a week away from making his return. Because he’s sat out this week’s practices makes it almost certain he will not play against Washington. However, the fact that he was seen working on agility drills on a side field is an encouraging sign for Chargers fans.
- (OLB) Jarret Johnson: Hamstring.
- (FS) Eric Weddle: Toe.
- (G) Chad Rinehart: Toe.
Did Not Practice
- (WR/KR) Eddie Royal: Toe.
- (G/T) Mike Remmers: Ankle.
- (ILB) Donald Butler: Groin.
- DNP: Did not participate in practice.
- LP: Limited Participation in Practice – Less than 100 percent of a player’s normal repetitions.
- FP: Full Participation – 100 percent of a player’s normal repetitions.
- Out: Player will not play.
For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.
Abe Gutierrez is a criminal justice admin whose love for sports led him to become a writer and editor. His expertise make him a valued addition to Examiner.com and its partners. His work can be found on Examiner.com. .