September 10, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Le'Ron McClain (33) runs with the ball against Oakland Raiders linebacker Philip Wheeler (52) during the fourth quarter at O.co Coliseum. The Chargers defeated the Raiders 22-14. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-US PRESSWIRE
Welcome to 'Why the Chargers Will Win', a weekly feature where we tell you why the San Diego Chargers might defeat their upcoming opponent.
The Running Game
I know what you're saying: The running game is terrible until Ryan Mathews gets back! Maybe that's true, or maybe the Oakland Raiders had a good week of stopping the run and the offense still had to figure out how to run behind this very-new offensive line.
Based on the fact that the Patriots ran for 150+ yards against the Titans last week, and did so pretty easily, I'm willing to bet that there are some holes there that the team can exploit. Is Stevan Ridley that much better than Ronnie Brown, Curtis Brinkley and Le'Ron McClain? I don't know, but the guy had 125 rushing yards and a TD on just 21 carries. I don't expect similar output, but I think the running game rebounds for the Chargers in Week 2.
Plus....Ryan Mathews might be back on Sunday.
For the first time in...forever...the San Diego Chargers seem relatively healthy. Ryan Mathews will be back in a week or so, Vincent Brown will be back in a month and a half, and nobody is all that concerned about Jared Gaither being gone now that Mike Harris has shown himself to be an adequate pass blocker.
The Titans are another story. Colin McCarthy, maybe their best Linebacker, is expected to miss the game with a bad ankle. Javon Ringer, the backup Running Back, is expected to miss the game with an elbow infection. Nate Washington, their best deep-threat WR, is nursing his calf and hasn't practiced this week. These are all players that played in the loss to the Patriots.
The Chargers are the healthier team! Thank you, Dr. Chao!
El Capitan sure looked like himself against the Oakland Raiders, even without a running game. Maybe the improvements on defense were enough to convince him that he didn't need to do it all, but his throws out of bounds when nobody was open were a welcome sight.
There are few certainties in the NFL, but one of them is this: If you have an elite QB playing at a consistently high level, your team will beat most below-average teams. Right now, the Titans look like a below-average team and Rivers looks like he's gotten back to playing at a consistently high level.