Each season, we preview the games by looking at three reasons the Chargers will win and lose each week. Here is why they will lose.
Injuries to Mike Williams and Hunter Henry
The Los Angeles Chargers came into 2019 with one of the scariest collections of skill position talent in the National Football League. Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Austin Ekeler, Justin Jackson, Hunter Henry, and Philip Rivers are just a murderer’s row of offensive talent. This week, the Chargers will be replacing Henry with some combination of Virgil Green and Sean Culkin. That’s going from one of the most dynamic tight ends in all of football to Virgil Green and Sean Culkin. Williams opposite Allen meant that defenses couldn’t exclusively focus on Allen. With Williams likely out or at least limited, that changes everything. Ken Whisenhunt’s offense is going to need to get more out of the likes of Travis Benjamin and Dontrelle Inman, and that’s not great when you’re trying to win a football game.
Chargers Run Defense
Last week, the Chargers and their new-look defensive front featuring 1st-round pick Jerry Tillery got run over. It was honestly kinda hard to watch even on replay when you knew that they still won. The Lions’ offensive line ain’t the Colts, but Kerryon Johnson and C.J. Anderson are arguably better running backs than the Colts’ Marlon Mack and Nyheim Hines. Being able to run the ball at will is going to let the Lions control the pace of the game and keep the Chargers’ high-powered (if currently limited by injuries) offense on the sideline.
Against the Colts in Carson, we saw what it looks like when Brandon Facyson has to play meaningful snaps. For those of you who have managed to block that memory out, what happens is that the opposing offense finds who Facyson is responsible for and they get that guy the ball over and over again to keep the chains moving. Earlier this week, we found out Trevor Williams was headed to Injured Reserve and that Michael Davis isn’t coming back any time soon either. The team added cornerback Dontae Johnson, but before you get your hopes up, here’s a brief “scouting report” from 49ers blogger Kyle Posey:
He’s terrible. Worse than Facyson.
So, yeah, the secondary is a serious potential pain point for the Chargers this week.