Three More Games the San Diego Chargers Will Lose In 2011
With that said, the Chargers still have some tough games ahead of them this year. Not to mention they are yet to face an AFC rival this 2011 season.
While sitting at 1-1, here is a look at three more games that the Chargers may lose in the upcoming weeks.
And, the reasons why...
Green Bay Packers in Week 9
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This game is going to have the same tones that the Patriots game did. A high-flying quarterback showdown between Aaron Rodgers and Philip Rivers. Both teams are evenly matched across the ball and will have a difficult time figuring each other out on defense.
With that said, here are some reasons why the San Diego Chargers will have a more difficult time against the Packers than they did against the Patriots.
Green Bay's Defense
The Green Bay safeties, corners, and linebackers are much better than what the Chargers saw in New England. Tom Brady was able to cover up the inadequacies of his defense by consistently driving down the field; Rodgers will not have to do that if his defense plays up to par.
With Charles Woodson and Tramon Williams on the outside, it is going to be hard for the Chargers' wide receiver core to get a free release and get open down the field. The Packers pass rush is also a concern with Clay Mathews matched up against Jerome Clary, who has been the weakest link on the Chargers' O-line this year.
Green Bay's Wide Receivers
You thought the Chargers looked bad against Brady and an average supporting cast? Well imagine what Aaron Rodgers is going to do with Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Donald Driver, Randall Cobb, James Jones, and Jermichael Finley. This very well may be the best receiving core in the entire NFL and the Chargers are going to need to be ready for them.
Whether that means bringing more pressure or consistently having 3-4 DBs on the field, Greg Manusky and the Chargers are going to need to come up with one heck of a game plan to stop this aerial attack.
Aaron Rodgers' Legs
Now you may be thinking: Hey, Brady is much better than Rodgers, so the Patriots have the Packers on this one. While I agree to some extent, the talent level between these two elite QBs is minimal. One thing that Rodgers has over Brady is that Rodgers has legs is he's, maybe, one of the most underrated scrambling QBs in the league.
The Chargers are historically bad against scrambling quarterbacks and they showed that they still are this season after Donovan McNabb consistently broke contain, rushing for 32 yards on three carries. To counter Rodgers' ability to run, the Chargers are going to need to not overpursue on the defensive line and allow the offensive line to simply push them past Rodgers.
Obviously, the Chargers have a chance to win this game, but, when looking at the key skill players that the Packers posses, it is hard not to notice how well they counter the Chargers' skill players.
The Chargers will need to play flawless football. Yes, that means not turning the ball over four times (five if you count that 1-yard line debacle).
Chicago Bears in Week 11
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No one is really looking this far down the schedule, but I feel that this game is one of the more overlooked games on the Chargers schedule. The Chicago Bears, although still weak on the offensive line, are a solid team, especially on defense side of the ball.
They have a quarterback that can sling it and an offense run by Mike Martz (the orchestrator of "The Greatest Show On Turf"), who is still an elite play-caller.
Now, I think the Chargers will lose this game, not because I feel that the Bears are an elite team in the NFL per say, but, because of other factors that are out of the Bolt's hands:
When and Where
The Chargers will be playing the Bears in Chicago on November 20th. On this date in Chicago, the average temp hovers right below 40 degrees, with the all-time low being about 0 degrees. Not to mention, this game will have a 4:15pm start time, which will not help with the cold temperatures as the game rolls on.
The Chargers are going to have to adjust to the cold weather this year in order to have a chance to win. They were outplayed by a horrible Bengals team in December last year at Cincinnati towards the end of the season; a loss that resulted in them not making the playoffs. Many forget that the Bolts were one win away from forcing a playoff with the Chiefs.
Bear of a Defense
As any defensive player in the Bears organization will tell you, their defensive is built to stop the big play. They play a soft Cover 2 (4-3 Defense) all game long, while rushing four, and forcing you to check down. They basically say we are going to beat you with a four man rush all game long.
Julius Peppers and Israel Idonije can bring it off the edges, and middle linebacker Brian Urlacher still has a lot in the tank. While Rivers is suited very well to face this defense with his elite field vision, I do not think that the Bears will allow Vincent Jackson and Malcom Floyd to put on the show like the one they did against a porous Patriots secondary.
Chris Harris, Charles TIllman, and Tim Jennings are all underrated secondary personal for the Bears.
The Bears have one of the best special teams forces in the NFL. Just ask Lovie Smith, who refused to kick from the 35-yard line in the preseason because he was disgruntled with the new rule.
He knew his special teams unit was the best on the field and kicked for the 30-yard line anyways. Open field tackling is always tougher on an icy surface, which raises concerns about the ability of Devin Hester to bust this game open.
The Chargers will need to take an early lead (always a key on the road) and force the ball into Jay Cutler's hands. He has an average-at-best receiving core, which doesn't have the ability to stretch the field. Yes, they have speed with Johnny Knox and Devin Hester, but both those guys round off at about 5'10". A great matchup for the bigger, more aggressive, Charger cornerbacks.
Baltimore Ravens in Week 15
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The Baltimore Ravens have shown they can dominate good teams this year. Although they lost the the Titans in Week 2, the Ravens blew out the Steelers in Week 1. A dominating performance that I have never seen displayed against that Pittsburgh team.
The Chargers will not have an easy ride. Mostly likely, one, if not both, of these teams will be vying for a playoff berth in this game. Either team could be wrapping up the division with a win in San Diego on this date.
Here are some reasons why the Chargers will not win this game:
The Rice Train So far this season, Ray Rice has been the most explosive, dynamic running back in the NFL. He is reminding everyone of Ladainian Tomlinson in offensive coordinator Cam Cameron's pitch-and-catch offense where the running back gets as many receptions as he does carries.
While the Charger cornerbacks are good at stopping swing routes in the flats, I am not sure the Chargers linebacker core can deal with Rice in open space. They are on the slower side and will have trouble with with a shifty Rice. Limiting Rice's looks in open space will be a key to winning this game.
Raven's TE attack
Along with utilizing his running backs, Cameron is great at getting the ball in the hands of his tight ends, just ask Antonio Gates. The Chargers proved that they could not handle tight ends down the field in the Patriots game, which will entice other teams to try the same strategy in the upcoming weeks against the Chargers. Look for Cameron to employ this strategy.
Ray Lewis and this gang
The last time the Chargers played the Ravens, Ray Lewis single-handedly stopped the Chargers. He had 13 total tackles (including ten solo tackles and three TFL) and had a game-winning tackle on fourth down against Darren Sproles when Norval tried to run power football with the 180-pound back; a magnificent play call.
Lewis, once again, will be the main game-changer in this prime time game on Sunday night; a time when he seems to shine the most.