Each season, we preview the games by looking at three reasons the Chargers will win and lose each week. Here is why they will win.
Austin Ekeler in the Passing Game
It turns out that the only thing really holding back the Chargers offense was that they weren’t getting Ekeler enough touches. Thankfully, with Melvin Gordon out of the way, that is no longer an issue. There are few players in this league that are more dangerous in space than Ekeler, and as it turns out, there are few play callers in this league that are better than Ken Whisenhunt at getting his running backs into space. What a fun coincidence. Another fun coincidence is that the Detroit Lions are not great at defending running backs in the passing game. Please see David Johnson’s 6 receptions for 55 yards and a score last week. With Hunter Henry out and Mike Williams at least limited, this week has a good chance of being the Austin Ekeler Show and the Austin Ekeler Show is awesome.
Lions Pass Protection
The Chargers’ pass protection isn’t anything to write home about (Philip Rivers’ ability to avoid sacks is elite and he still gets knocked around every week), but the Lions are not what you would necessarily call better. And, unfortunately for Matthew Stafford (but fortunately for all of us), Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa are as good as any pass rushing duo you can find anywhere in the NFL. Taylor Decker struggled a week ago against the Cardinals trying to protect Stafford’s blindside and there is no reason to think he will have any better luck against the Chargers pass rush. On top of that, Decker was on the injury report this week, so he might be even worse than he was.
Matt Patricia Sucks
In another stunning turn of events, yet another branch of the Bill Belichick tree appears, at least initially, to not be any good. Last year, he was a complete mess in a variety of ways, but perhaps his worst decision as head coach was the hiring of offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. You may remember Bevell from being so bad that when he was replaced by Brian Schottenheimer the Seahawks offense actually got more modern and more effective. Bevell is terrible, and he is terrible on purpose. He doesn’t believe in running a pass first offense that creates big plays. No, he wants to be the mid-90s Wisconsin Badgers. It takes a pretty brilliant offensive mind to look at Matthew Stafford, Marvin Jones Jr., and Kenny Golladay and think, let’s find a way to take them out of the game. But back to how Matt Patricia sucks. Every team complains about their coach’s in-game decision-making. It’s half the fun of being a fan for some people. But Patricia is truly awful. The timeout he called during last week’s game was baffling. It negated what would have been a game-winning Stafford pass and capped off blowing an 18-point lead to tie with the Arizona Cardinals.