By Dave Thomas
Stop the press if you’ve heard the following before: The Los Angeles Chargers are an average to bad football team headed in the wrong direction. Yes, you’ve likely heard that once or twice.
Riding a three-game 2017 losing streak, the Chargers will look to break into the winning column Sunday when they host the 2-1 Philadelphia Eagles in the final game of a three-game homestand.
For the Chargers, the first three games of the season turned into nightmares in one form or another.
In the first two (losses to Denver and Miami, respectively), the Bolts had chances at the end in both to come away with wins. Missed field goals spelled doom for Los Angeles.
Flash-forward a week later; it was three turnovers from veteran QB Philip Rivers that notched the Chargers’ fate.
So, will this be the weekend that the Chargers finally get in the win column?
Most Teams Don’t Recover From Slow Starts
It is no big secret that teams starting out the season 0-3 have rather small success in making the playoffs (less than three percent since 1980 have rallied from down 0-3 to make the post-season).
When you consider that the Chargers still have the likes of Kansas City, Oakland (twice), Denver, Dallas, and New England still on their schedule, things could get really ugly when all is said and done.
Heading into their meeting Sunday at home with the Eagles (Chargers lead the all-time series 7-4), Los Angeles must prepare for a team that could easily be 3-0 were it not for a tough road loss in week two at Kansas City.
Philadelphia, which began last season at 3-0, will present a challenge for the Bolts on several fronts.
First, second-year QB Carson Wentz is emerging as one of the better young signal callers in the NFL. Although his rookie numbers were not Earth-shattering, he is seemingly gaining poise under center.
The Eagles quarterback to date in his short career has thrown for 21 touchdowns against 16 interceptions, accounting for 816 yards through three games this season.
While Wentz is the focal point of Philadelphia’s offense, the team’s defense comes into the game with the 21st overall ranked defense, allowing 22.7 points per game (ppg).
So, will Los Angeles be able to move the ball and put points on the board, something it struggled to do a week ago (10 points) against unbeaten Kansas City? If the Chargers have trouble moving the ball, the thought of loss number four on the season becomes a real possibility.
Can Gordon Get Healthy?
Heading into the contest, the Bolts are hoping to get a healthier Melvin Gordon come Sunday.
Gordon, who has been held to 146 yards rushing (44 carries) and a pair of TD’s through three games this season, has been battling a knee injury. If Gordon is not at full strength or even sidelined, it puts all the more pressure on Rivers and his receivers to move the ball.
On the defense side of the ball, Los Angeles comes into the game in fairly good shape, not noting any key injuries.
To date, defensive end Melvin Ingram has 5.5 sacks through three games, with Los Angeles as a team sporting the 13th overall ranked defense, allowing 22.3 points per game.
Los Angeles reported the following injury update as of Friday:
- (LS) Mike Windt (Non-injury Related) – Full Practice
- (WR) Mike Williams (Back) – Limited Practice
- (OT) Joe Barksdale (Foot) – Full Practice
- (RB) Melvin Gordon (Knee) – Full Practice
- (TE) Sean McGrath (Foot) – Full Practice
- (MLB) Hayes Pullard (Knee) – Full Practice