By Dave Thomas
After having a chance to mend some injuries and refocus on their long-term objectives, the San Diego Chargers come off of their bye week this Sunday when they travel to Maryland to meet the Washington Redskins.
At 4-3, the Chargers currently hold down the top spot in the AFC Wild Card race, though most in the organization would probably tell you that that factor is the least of their concerns right now.
For most, there is likely the mentality that catching both Denver (7-1, second place in AFC West) and Kansas City (8-0, first place) are the main objectives over the remaining nine games in the regular season. In order to have a chance at catching one or both of those teams, San Diego will have to pick up where it left off before the bye week.
Sitting at 2-3 not too long ago, the Chargers strung together back-to-back winning efforts in victories over Indianapolis (19-9) and Jacksonville (24-6). In doing so, San Diego was able to go into its bye week on a high note, showing the consistency that had been lacking earlier in the season.
The question now is, can the Chargers continue that play? For both the Bolts and their fans, that question will be answered come late afternoon (Eastern time) this Sunday against the Redskins (2-5).
Washington Blows Two-Touchdown Lead in Denver
For the Washington Redskins, the 2013 campaign to date has been one of highs and lows, more notably on the latter end.
Washington’s most recent foray was a very disappointing trip this past Sunday to the Mile High City. After surprisingly leading Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos 21-7, the visitors watched as the Broncos ran off 38 unanswered points, coasting to a 45-21 victory to remain a game back on Kansas City.
In the process of blowing that two-touchdown lead, the Redskins saw star QB Robert Griffin III get dinged up. According to the team, Griffin suffered a bruised left knee, though the Baylor product said that he is good to go moving forward.
Whether Griffin is 100 percent or not for this Sunday’s meeting with San Diego, the Chargers will have to contend with several offensive weapons if they hope to move their winning streak to three games.
To date, Griffin has passed for 1,878 yards and nine touchdowns (eight interceptions). In the air, Griffin is most likely to target Pierre Garcon (512 yards to date this season, two TD’s).
Griffin Provides Running Threat
When healthy, the NFL knows that Griffin is a threat to run the ball, as he has accounted for 240 yards on the ground this season through seven games.
Another threat in the running game has been Florida Atlantic product Alfred Morris, who has been averaging 80.7 yards rushing per game (565 yards total, four touchdowns on the season).
If San Diego is going to be able to move the ball and put up points against Washington, it will have to come against the likes of linebackers Ryan Kerrigan (6.5 sacks) and Perry Riley Jr. (40 solo tackles), along with corner DeAngelo Hall (three interceptions).
Given the way Philip Rivers and Co. have played in their last two games, there is certainly no reason that the Chargers can’t go into FedExField and come away with the win.
Then again, this is a Washington team that is looking for a little consistency of its own.
For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.
Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on Examiner.com.