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.
The 3rd-round pick out of Cal has continued his now long-running trend of being open on basically every play since he entered the NFL. Last week, he spent most of the game making Darius Slay, one of the league’s top cornerbacks, look like, well, Brandon Facyson. Slay had the last laugh with his game-sealing interception, but that doesn’t change the fact that for the vast majority of the time he was lined up against Allen, he simply could not hang. Jonathan Joseph and Bradley Roby are both quality defenders, but neither is so good that there is reason to think they will be able to contain Allen on Sunday.
Houston’s Pass Protection
The Chargers’ pass rush has not been particularly effective through two games, but Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa are still two of the best pass rushers in football, and the Texans (even with the very expensive addition of Laremy Tunsil) have the worst adjusted sack rate of any offensive line. Some of that is due to Deshaun Watson’s tendency to hold onto the ball longer than average in an attempt to make big plays, but plenty of it is that his offensive line is not much better than the one the Chargers line up in front of Philip Rivers. Bosa, Ingram, and the rest of the Bolts’ defense should be able to get after Watson early and often, and that should give the secondary a chance to hang with the likes of DeAndre Hopkins.
The Chargers’ RB1 learned a costly lesson last week when he left the football unprotected while trying to leap into the endzone, but aside from that one play, he also showed anyone and everyone that was watching that he is one of the most electric playmakers on any team. He is far and away the most productive receiving back through two games. There are but a handful of players in the NFL that are even close to as dangerous with the ball in their hands as Ekeler is, and Ken Whisenhunt’s offense certainly appears primed to keep getting it to him in space with a chance to do damage. The Texans are a talented defense, but if Ekeler can get in space (and they will get him in space), he is going to pick up big chunks of yardage.