The Offensive Line
Last week against the Kansas City Chiefs was one of the finest offensive line performances the Chargers have had in years. The addition of Matt Slauson has solidified the line in a way that even his biggest fans could not have openly hoped for. D.J. Fluker looks better than he did in his first season playing guard. Orlando Franklin looked like the player the Chargers thought they were getting when they signed him in free agency before the 2015-16 season. He might not be especially effective trying to block linebackers out in space, but he mauled guys at the line of scrimmage. The tackles were more than capable of holding their own and kept Rivers off his back for most of the game.
Perhaps most importantly, the offensive line did serious work in the running game. They opened holes for Melvin Gordon and Danny Woodhead all day, and both of them took advantage by running all over a very good Chiefs defense. They will need to and should be able to repeat that performance against a Jaguars defense that is still coming together.
The Jaguars best actual runner will be missing his second consecutive regular season game with “illness.” That means the Jaguars will need to rely on T.J. Yeldon and Denard Robinson if they want to run the ball. Neither is particularly effective as a runner and the Chargers should be able to make the Jags a one-dimensional offense. That will put the onus on Blake Bortles whom we can count on to make mistakes if under pressure.
Having one of the best quarterbacks in the history of the National Football League is a pretty nice luxury for any team. It’s especially helpful when your quarterback is significantly more talented and experienced than that of the opposition. That will be the case this Sunday when the San Diego Chargers host the Jacksonville Jaguars. Blake Bortles is not necessarily a bad quarterback and I am sure he won quite a few people quite a few games in their fantasy leagues last year. He is not, however, in the same league as Rivers who is a borderline* Hall of Famer (*borderline only because he has never had good enough teammates to help him get to a Super Bowl).
Even without his best target in Keenan Allen, Rivers is capable of carrying the offense and putting up the points necessary to win from week to week. And it’s not as though his receiving corps is completely bereft of talent either. He can and likely will find a way to get it done.