Last Sunday, the San Diego Chargers played a low scoring game against the Houston Texans.
In last weeks’ KYO, we said that the key to winning the game was putting the ball in the hands of Brock Osweiler, and the Bolts did just that, as they got out of Texas with a win.
This Sunday, the Chargers return to the Q to play the surprising Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs shocked the league last week by beating Seattle 14-5 in a defensive-minded game. In that game, Tampa sacked Russell Wilson six times, forced a fumble and got two interceptions off the Pro Bowl QB.
This will not be an easy game for the Bolts, as they shouldn’t overlook the young, hungry Bucs.
As we do every week here at EVT, let’s take a look at the strengths and weaknesses of the Chargers’ opponent.
1. Mike Evans
When people think of wide receivers from the 2014 NFL draft, most believe that Odell Beckham Jr. was by far the best receiver available. Mike Evans is starting to make his case, as he has become a threat each week. He’s a huge receiver, at 6’5″ and 235 lbs, and uses his size well. This year, Evans leads the league with 10 receiving touchdowns, and last week he tortured Seattle’s “Legion of Boom” for over 100 yards and two TDs. Evans man-handled Richard Sherman on one touchdown. He is a physical receiver and is unafraid to put his hands on defensive backs. The Chargers should know that Evans will get his yards and that shouldn’t frustrate them, because he is probably a top three WR in all of football.
As a college football fan, I’ve watched Jameis play since he was at FSU. From that point we all knew he was talented. What made people nervous was the off-field stuff, as he had a couple of incidents with law enforcement and such. That seems to be in the past, and this year Winston has been playing like a star. With all that being said, he’s still young and he can be tricked into throwing interceptions. Look for John Pagano to change looks on defense in order to get Jameis off his game.
3. Gerald McCoy
The last time the Chargers played at home, they had to contain Ndamukong Suh. This time they will try their luck against who many consider the best DT in football. Gerald McCoy has been excellent for many years now, but he’s been on a losing team and the casual fan doesn’t know how solid he is. McCoy is great at rushing the QB. He has six sacks in 10 games this year. He also is very disruptive in the running game, because of his explosive first step. If the Chargers can contain McCoy they will be successful on Sunday. That is a big “If” though.
1. Starting Safeties
This unit consists of Chris Conte and Bradley McDougald. Both of them are not very good at all. Conte gets out of position way too often and McDougald is a PI waiting to happen. Look for Hunter Henry and Antonio Gates to have big games on Sunday. These two will be victimized by Philip Rivers early and often.
On draft day, everyone laughed at Tampa’s front office for drafting a kicker in the 2nd round. Aguayo has been awful so far this season. He’s only making 68% of his field goals. Safe to say the rookie from FSU is not a reliable kicker. When the game is on the line, the Bucs have zero confidence in him.
3. Defensive Scheme
On paper, this defense should be one of the best in the NFL. They have great talent at every position, except safety. But looking at the tape, the scheme doesn’t put the players in position to succeed. I know they just blasted Seattle, but is that an aberration or the start of a trend? I’m going with the former. If the Chargers can get the ground game going early, this defense should be susceptible to play-action. That should result in a productive game from Rivers and company on offense.
So there you have it. I think this should be a shootout on Sunday. It may even come down to the last drive of the game. Coach McCoy should get his team ready for the young Bucs, because if they overlook them, the Bolts 2016 season will effectively be over on Sunday afternoon.