After a long two-week road trip, the Atlanta Falcons return home to the Georgia Dome to face their next opponent, the San Diego Chargers. While the San Diego Chargers sit at the bottom of the AFC West division, Atlanta still has to prepare for them like any other team with a winning record. As a team, the San Diego Chargers trail behind their opponents in every statistical category except on defense. The San Diego Chargers as a team lead their opponents in averaging more tackles at 311, sacks at seven and interceptions at seven. Atlanta’s offensive line will have to defend against some intense defensive pressure to keep Matt Ryan out of the line of San Diego’s linebackers if they are going to come up victorious Sunday night.
As Atlanta prepares for their matchup, here is an updated opponent profile on the San Diego Chargers.
Chargers Season Record: (2-4)
After opening their season with a loss, the San Diego Chargers have found it difficult to gain momentum mid-way through this season. Each of their respective losses come during hard fought battles where each time, the Chargers come up short at the winding down of the clock. Philip Rivers has consistently put up big numbers in passing yards, yet still has found it hard for those passing yards to translate into wins for the San Diego Chargers. Riding high after their win against the Denver Broncos, the Chargers look to capitalize off of their newfound momentum.
Chargers on Offense:
Philip Rivers is averaging 263 passing yards per game with a 67 percent completion rate. In their last game against the Broncos, Rivers threw for 178 yards and one touchdown, passing Hall of Famer Dan Fouts to become San Diego’s career passing leader, as the Chargers held off the Broncos 21-13. The game’s other points relied heavily upon kicker Josh Lambo’s career-high four field goals, of 37, 21, 31 and 32 yards. In addition, the Chargers snapped their streak of 10 straight divisional losses dating to 2014. The Chargers will need a big game from top players in their offense if they want a chance against Atlanta’s explosive offense. The Chargers running back Melvin Gordon had 27 carries for 94 yards against the Broncos, improving their rushing gains. More production is needed from Travis Benjamin, their leading wide receiver with a total of 31 receptions for 411 yards so far this season, averaging about 13 yards per reception.
Chargers on Defense:
The San Diego Chargers have had some brutal last minute losses so far this season and last game their defense was determined not to be the blamed for another. The Broncos sluggish game play was an advantage for a defense that really didn’t have to do much in the first half. However, in the second half the San Diego Chargers defense allowed Denver to score 10 points and it was a costly turnover that ended their run. The Chargers’ rookie linebacker Jatavis Brown is having a tremendous first season leading the team in tackles at 42 and tied for the most sacks this season at three with linebacker Melvin Ingram. Their ability to force turnovers will be key at defending against the explosive Atlanta offense.
Chargers Players to Watch: Rookie TE Hunter Henry and RB Melvin Gordon
In their last game against the Denver Broncos, rookie TE Hunter Henry had a big game for the Chargers with six receptions for 83 yards. River’s one and only TD pass was to Henry and the rookie is fast becoming his favorite target down the field. Another player to watch is Gordon at running back who will be looking to expose any gaps in Atlanta’s defense. With 27 carries for 94 yards in their last game, Gordon is becoming a huge part of what’s working in the Chargers offensive strategy.
This will be a tough matchup for the Chargers facing the Atlanta Falcons in the Georgia Dome. Atlanta will get tremendous help from the home crowd and fresh off of their controversial loss against the Seattle Seahawks, look for Atlanta to be playing with an extra chip on their shoulders. The Chargers’ game plan will be to build off the momentum of their last win against the Broncos. They will have to disrupt Matt Ryan’s ability to complete passes, however, last game their defense had the advantage of facing a sluggish offense in the first half. Atlanta’s offense will more than likely start off fast while putting up big numbers. Philip Rivers will have to have a better than 178 passing yards in order to keep pace with Atlanta’s offense.