1.) After they stifled the Jaguars pass-rush, can the the Chargers put on a repeat performance against DE Danielle Hunter and the rest of the Vikings front?
This past Sunday, the Chargers offensive line allowed just a single sack on Philip Rivers, thanks in part to monolithic defensive end, Calais Campbell.
The lack of production was likely a surprise due to the fact that Jacksonville’s defensive front is still running around with the name “Sack-sonville” after they coined the term over two years ago. However, the Chargers front five truly stepped-up to the challenge and passed with flying colors.
Starting center and second-year player Scott Quessenberry has been rock-solid in place of Mike Pouncey and could very-well play his way into a starting job in 2020 an beyond if Pouncey is forced to retire from his season-ending neck injury.
The next challenge set before the Chargers includes a ferocious group headlined by defensive ends Danielle Hunter and Everson Griffin. Griffin has returned to form following an unusual 2018 season that saw the veteran remove himself from the playing field to work on his mental health. Hunter, on the other hand, just became the youngest player in history to reach 50 sacks in his career. He also happens to lead the NFL in quarterback pressures with 80, which is a full seven more pressures than second place.
It’s going to be a heck of a challenge for this front, but challenges like this is how units like the OL get better.
2.) With the Chargers getting back CB Michael Davis and the Vikings’ Adam Thielen returning from injury, this match-up could be decided through the air and which QB makes less mistakes.
I’m sure most of you guys who read that headline immediately thought “oh, well of course the Chargers are going to lose. Rivers throws picks and Kirk Cousins does not.”
Well...yeah, that’s true. But let’s see how much optimism we can accumulate this late into a lost season!
Rivers played his cleanest game of the season against the Jaguars and it’s not unheard of for quarterbacks to find their stride down the final stretch of the season. After all, they call it “Phil-Cember” for a reason.
Cousins is also playing at a extremely high level. After a slow start, he’s really turned things on since the end of September. But, in a vice-versa manner to Rivers’ season, it might be high-time for Cousins to come back down to Earth and resume his middling quarterback play that we have all come to expect from him.
3.) Does the team, or its’ fans, really want to win this game?
The Bolts are currently sitting at 5-8 and have been mathematically eliminated from the playoffs with three games left to play in 2019. The Vikings are 9-4 and are fighting to solidify their spot in the playoffs with a 1-game lead over the Los Angeles Rams for the 6th-seed in the NFC.
Die-hard fans will argue that they should want the team to win every game no matter the circumstances. But in a lost season, what good is an extra win or two if it means the Chargers fall in the first round of next year’s draft? With a plethora of talent still on the depth chart, a potential top-10 pick combined with former top picks returning from injury (i.e., Nasir Adderley, Forrest Lamp, etc.) may be the a major factor in what looks to be Rivers’ final season with the Chargers.
So what do YOU really want, gentle reader? Do you wish to see the Chargers fight tooth-and-claw until this year is over, or would you prefer to take a few more losses on the chin if it meant a much better draft pick in late April?