By Dave Thomas
While it certainly is not time to hit the panic button, the San Diego Chargers no doubt do not want to start a long losing streak that could be hard to recover from.
After winning five straight, the Bolts have now dropped their last two contests, most notably within the AFC West (Kansas City and Denver). With a 2-0 record to date this season against the AFC East (wins over Buffalo, the New York Jets), the Chargers hope a return to action against that division this Sunday will prove to be the answer.
When the Chargers take on Miami (4-3) in South Florida Sunday afternoon, they hope to get back on the winning track, giving them momentum heading into contests against the Raiders, Rams and Ravens to finish out the month of November.
Miami In Playoff Hunt
While San Diego (5-2) is in the hunt for an AFC playoff spot, the same can be said for Miami, which currently is chasing both New England (6-2) and Buffalo (5-3) for AFC East supremacy.
Miami, which beat Oakland and lost to Kansas City, will be meeting its third AFC West opponent to date. In a thrilling game last season in South Florida, quarterback Ryan Tannehill rallied the Dolphins for a 20-16 win over the Chargers.
With a win over the Chargers, Miami can position itself for a chase to catch New England and improve its chances of gaining a wild card spot.
In looking at Miami’s schedule, the Dolphins have a pair of contests with the lowly New York Jets, a return match with Buffalo, and a date with Minnesota. In those contests, one would figure the Dolphins would be a favorite (except maybe for the Bills). The Dolphins also have remaining dates with New England, Detroit, Denver and Baltimore.
Meantime, San Diego needs a strong November to head into what will be a very challenging December slate.
The Chargers have home dates with Tom Brady and the Patriots and Peyton Manning and the Broncos, then finish out the month with visits to San Francisco and Kansas City. Needless to say, San Diego needs to take advantage of an easier slate in November, minus that last Sunday tilt with the Ravens in Baltimore.
As all other teams must deal with, injuries have certainly been mounting for the Bolts.
Heading into this weekend’s game, the Chargers will be without the services of first-year corner Jason Verrett.
The talented rookie is dealing with a left labrum that is torn in three spots, leaving him out this week for sure. San Diego hopes by resting him this weekend and the bye weekend (Nov. 9), he may be able to avoid surgery and play sooner rather than later.
Also banged up and missing practice on Thursday was Jahleel Addae, Ryan Mathews and Manti Te’o.
The Chargers are hoping that resting Mathews this weekend and the bye weekend may allow him to come back and contribute to a San Diego rushing attack that currently ranks 30th (out of 32 teams) at a mere 85.8 yards per game.
Thursday’s Injury Report:
Jahleel Addae (corner) – concussion – did not practice
Jeremiah Attaochu (outside linebacker) – hamstring – limited practice
Donald Brown (running back) – concussion – full practice
Brandon Flowers (corner) – concussion – full practice
Dwight Freeney (outside linebacker) – knee – full practice
Ryan Mathews (running back) – knee – did not practice
Rich Ohrnberger (center/guard) – back – full practice
Manti Te’o (inside linebacker) – foot – did not practice
Jason Verrett (corner) – shoulder – did not practice
Reggie Walker (linebacker) – ankle – full practice
Steve Williams (corner) – groin – full practice
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.