The San Diego Chargers (1-1) continue their road trip with a visit to Minnesota to take on the Vikings (1-1). The Chargers are coming off a tough loss against the Cincinnati Bengals last Sunday in a sloppy game. They made all sorts of mental mistakes, the offensive and defensive lines played extremely poorly, and will need to win the battle of the trenches this week if they want to win.
When: Sunday, September 27th 10:00 am PT
Where: TCF Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Betting: Vikings (-1)
The Chargers own a slight 6-5 series advantage in the 11 games these two teams have played. They haven’t played each other since 2011 when the Chargers beat the Vikings in the series opener in San Diego. The Vikings won the last time these teams faced off in Minnesota. That was the 35-17 win in which Adrian Peterson ran for a single game record 296 rushing yards and Antonio Cromartie ran that missed field goal at the end of the first half back 108.88 yards for the TD (still have my Cromartie Jersey).
Running back Melvin Gordon continues to improve 10-fold every game, and I see no reason why he can’t have his best game to date against the Vikings. He’s coming off a 16 attempt, 88 yard performance against a stout front 7 of the Bengals. He’s the the first Chargers RB to have at least three 20+ yard runs during a game since LT. Look for the Bolt’s Offense to establish the run early and get Gordon comfortable early.
Adrian Peterson came out earlier this week and said he sees a lot of himself. He told ESPN’s Eric Williams,”He’s got real nice feet, he runs physical, and he’s quick in between the tackles. I think maybe that’s why I like him so much, because he reminds me of how I would run the ball with the talent that I’ve been presented with.”
Some real nice words about the rookie from a future Hall of Famer!
Looks like tight end Ladarius Green is questionable as he deals with his second concussion in two weeks. He’s been a reliable target for Philip Rivers in the middle of the field but if he can’t go look for Stevie Johnson to have an even bigger role Sunday from the slot position.
Philip Rivers has completed 82.1% of his passes so far this season, that’s insane. He will continue to hit high percentage throws to Keenan Allen and Stevie Johnson underneath, Danny Woodhead out of the backfield, and Malcom Floyd on the outside. He should have another great game but he must limit his turnovers as he’s thrown three INT’s and lost a fumble. If he can cut down on the turnovers and control the pace of the game, the Vikings should be playing from behind the whole game.
Mike Zimmer also had some nice words about Philip Rivers. This week he said “He’s one of the best QB’s of all time.”
The Chargers defense did not have a great game against the Bengals last week. The defensive line was getting blown up by a good Cinci offensive line. Backup RB Giovani Bernard ran for 123 yards after holding starter Jeremy hill to 39 yards and forced two fumbles. Now they get one of the best running backs in NFL history in Adrian Peterson. The front 7 are going to have to play a lot better not only stopping the run but getting pressure on Teddy Bridgewater after not having a sack last week.
The secondary, which completely shut down a high powered Detroit Lions offense in week 1, was beat three times for TD’s on Sunday. They won’t have a dominant receiver like Megatron or an A.J. Green, but they’ll have their hands full with speedster Mike Wallace, polished route-runner Charles Johnson, and their big target TE Kyle Rudolph.
Look for Jason Verrett to be matched up with Wallace all day. The secondary is going to be mostly on an island all day on the receivers and tight ends as the linebackers are going to be focused on stopping AD and the Vikes running game. Bold prediction, Brandon Flowers bounces back and gets a pick this game.
The defense as a whole also has to wrap up and make the sure tackles. Way too many tackles missed against the Bengals allowing them to turn a broken play into a big gain, wrap up and swarm tackle. Let’s go!!! Whew, getting amped already.
Hello Norv, old friend. Norv Turner is the offensive coordinator for the Vikings and tries to
ruin run another potent offense. After getting just 10 touches in their ugly season opening loss to the 49ers, Peterson toted the rock 29 times for 134 yards and led the Vikings in receiving yards as well with 58 yards on 2 receptions.
Teddy Bridgewater has made progress in his second year running the offense but is still better when his throwing attempts is kept closer to 20 than 30 or 40. He’s very effecient none the less as he’s completed at least 70% of his passes in both games so far this season. He’ll look to his two favorite targets, tight end Kyle Rudolph and wideout Mike Wallace.
This defense is coming off a strong performance against NFC North rival Detroit Lions last week. They held the Lions’ rushing attack to 38 total yards. Linebacker Anthony Barr has made tremendous progress in just his second season and has been a tackling machine. The Chargers’ O-line is going to have it’s hands full all day against a stout defensive front and will need to keep Rivers upright for Chargers to have a chance.
Defensive Lineman Sherrif Floyd and Everson Griffen are two big boys in the middle that disrupt plays and can get after the QB. Griffen has 1.5 sacks so far to add to his 31 career sacks.
In the secondary it’s cornerback Xavier Rhodes and safety Harrison Smith who hold it down. They not only have success covering downfield but are physical players who can come up and lay a hit on you. Smith leads the team with 15 tackles and will appear to be involved in every play on Sunday.
What we’re watching:
I’m interested to see how the Chargers’ pass rushers rebound from an inefficient game against the Bengals. Melvin Ingram, Jeremah Attaochu, and rookie Kyle Emanuel need to get pressure from the outside to not let Teddy Two-gloves to get in a rhythm. He can also make plays with his feet so they’ll have to play smart when getting pressure. They also have a tough job in containment in the run game, keep AP bottled up and don’t lose containment on the outside. This game is going to come down to who can win on the offensive and defensive fronts.
It’s really hard to figure out what Chargers team is going to show up Sunday. Will it be the second half of the Lions game team or will it be the team that made tons of mistakes last week. I think this is a tough road game for the Bolts and I hate picking against them… so I won’t.
Chargers 26, Vikings 20