By Dave Thomas
With their opening week loss to Denver behind them, the Los Angeles Chargers look to rebound when they play host to the Miami Dolphins Sunday afternoon in Carson, California.
Carson is, of course, the temporary home for the Bolts the next several seasons as they await to move into the new stadium being built for them and the Los Angeles Rams in Inglewood. In the meantime, a team without a true home must put that behind them as they prepare to host an AFC East opponent who has yet to play a game.
Miami was supposed to open action last weekend versus Tampa Bay, only to be defeated by Hurricane Irma. As a result, the Dolphins fled West and have been preparing for the Chargers in the meantime.
Can Dolphins Compete In AFC East?
With veteran QB Jay Cutler under center this season, the Dolphins are a bit of an unknown entity in the AFC East race. Can Cutler return to some of the good years he had in Denver and Chicago, respectively, and give Miami a chance to top Tom Brady and New England? Or will Cutler once again be the up-and-down QB who was the definition of inconsistency on many Sundays?
As Miami prepares to face Los Angeles, it won’t have to deal with a huge and/or hostile crowd in Carson come Sunday.
The Chargers’ move north has been met with much skepticism, to say the least. As a result, the NFL can’t be too thrilled that Los Angeles was having trouble selling out a 27,000-seat soccer stadium for a Sunday afternoon game in September. Although the Chargers’ old home in San Diego (Qualcomm Stadium) could have its share of visiting fans (Oakland, Denver, Kansas City etc.), at least the Bolts could say they were in their true home.
Stadiums aside, both Miami and Los Angeles will look to move a step closer to getting in the early season conversation about which AFC teams should be taken seriously.
Bolts Came Out Of Denver Relatively Healthy
Despite the 24-21 setback in the Mile High City this past Monday evening, the Chargers do have an opportunity the next two weekends to take advantage of some “home” cooking.
Trailing 24-7 at one point, Los Angeles got to within a potential game-tying field goal with :05 remaining against Denver. That field goal attempt, however, was partially blocked on the second try (Denver called timeout on a successful first kick by Los Angeles rookie Younghoe Koo).
Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers showed yet again that he can be as competitive as necessary despite the aging years on his body. Rivers finished the night with three TD passes.
In order for Los Angeles to have a good shot at topping Miami (Chargers are a 3.5 point favorite), the Bolts will need to get an early jump on Cutler & Co., somehow getting what is likely to be a rather sparse crowd into the game. Sure, close to 27,000 fans in a 27,000-seat venue may sound great for the home team, but how loyal will Charger fans be come Sunday?
Lastly, the Chargers continue to be a little thin at the wide receiver position heading into the contest. Veteran Dontrelle Inman is questionable for this Sunday’s game, while rookie Mike Williams was ruled out.
On the defensive side of the pigskin, corner Jason Verrett’s knee injury will keep him out of play at least this weekend.
Los Angeles reported the following injury update as of Friday:
- (DE) Jeremiah Attaochu (Hamstring) – Full Practice
- (WR) Dontrelle Inman (Groin) – Full Practice
- (TE) Sean McGrath (Knee) – Full Practice
- (S) Rayshawn Jenkins (Concussion/Shoulder) – Did Not Practice
- (WR) Mike Williams (Back) – Limited Practice
- (CB) Jason Verrett (Knee) – Did Not Practice