You think I'm kidding, but I'm not. Did you know that Eddie Royal is leading the San Diego Chargers in targets with 22? The next closest is Antonio Gates, with 18.
Ben Higgins joked on The BFTB Podcast a few weeks ago that this is an Eddie Royal-centric offense, but the truth is that Eddie is a very important part of this offense as long as the running game struggles (which will probably be until Ryan Mathews returns).
In Eddie's rookie season (2008), he caught 91 passes for 980 yards and 5 touchdowns (he also ran the ball 11 times for 109 yards). The production was so great that the Broncos named him a starter and moved him to the outside, and had him running deep routes, and he never found success that way. It wasn't until last year, when Mike McCoy put him back in the slot, that he was able to get his yards-per-game back up over 40.
Eddie is a bit like Wes Welker. Yes, that Wes Welker. The guy that Chargers fans have been searching for in the faces of Bryant Walters and every other white WR that has been on the preseason roster in the last ten years. Eddie does one thing really well, and that is get open within 5 yards of the line of scrimmage, and he's dangerous once he gets the ball in his hands. He also has a hard time staying healthy, but at the moment he appears to be close to 100%.
Expect Eddie to still be the team's leader in targets after this game, and expect him to get the ball in his hands with room to run at least a couple of times. That is how this offense works best.
It would surprise nobody if Philip Rivers had a good game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Heck, it would get him on every single "MVP Award" list for those looking to recap the first quarter of the NFL season.
Rivers is playing the best football of his career right now. If you compare his last two games, here is his stat line:
46/62, 540 pass yds, 5 TDs, (zero turnovers), 12 carries, 26 rush yds
That was done behind an offensive line that hasn't done him any favors in either of those games and against two of the better defenses in the league this year.
Maybe we were wrong to worry about Frank Reich, maybe Mike McCoy is taking a bigger role without Ken Whisenhunt here, maybe it's just another year in this offense that is allowing Rivers to get comfortable. Whatever it is, a rational human being can't predict anything but a great game for Rivers against the Jags, and a great game for Rivers all but guarantees a Chargers win.
Mike McCoy's San Diego Chargers team seems pretty good about taking advantage of opportunities, and seems to usually do a good job of winning games that they should win. That's how they got to the playoffs last year with much the same roster that Norv Turner couldn't get to .500, and it seems like how they'll get back to the playoffs this year.
Despite the injuries to Nick Hardwick, Melvin Ingram, Ryan Mathews, and Danny Woodhead (among others), this is still the part of the schedule where San Diego needs to take advantage of favorable matchups and win games against teams that are not quite at the same level. Due to that, I expect McCoy's team to show up ready to play. I do not expect a "let down game" from them.