Can Eagles Stand Up To Short Week Challenge?
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By Kevin McGuire
After an impressive season opening victory at Washington, the Philadelphia Eagles are looking to go 2-0. To do that the Eagles must win their home opener against the San Diego Chargers, with both teams having played Monday night. Will the Eagles have an advantage on a short week, playing at Lincoln Financial Field?
The San Diego Chargers will come to Philadelphia looking to get over a collapse at home on Monday night. While the Eagles enjoyed a road victory on Monday night, the Chargers gave up 24 unanswered second half points to the Houston Texans to drop their season opener at home.
The Chargers have the edge in the all-time series, 6-4, winning the last meeting between the two in 2009. The Eagles are 2-0 against the Chargers in the last two games played in Philadelphia, with wins in 2001 and 2005.
Chargers on Offense
The Chargers got off to a quick start against Houston in their season debut, taking advantage of an early turnover to build a quick lead and taking a commanding 28-7 lead early in the third quarter. But San Diego’s offense stalled throughout the night, putting together just 263 yards of offense, 80 of which came on the ground. San Diego is expected to be an up-and-down team this fall, and on Monday night they showed a little of both sides of what to expect from the offense.
Chargers on Defense
San Diego’s defense had their moments on Monday night but by the end of the game they had allowed the Texans to put together four separate drives of at least 10 plays, and all but one resulted in a touchdown (the other ended with a missed field goal). The Chargers allowed 19 first downs through the air and allowed Houston to convert nearly half of their third-down conversions. After forcing a turnover on the first play of the game, San Diego’s defense failed to create any more turnovers and allowed six yards per play.
Chargers Players to Watch
Philip Rivers, Quarterback: Philip Rivers has the ability to lead a team to victory in almost any game, and is San Diego’s top offensive player. When things are going well, it is likely because of the play of Rivers, but he can be rattled and frustrated rather easily. The Eagles defense will have to be aggressive and force Rivers to make mistakes.
Antonio Gates, Tight End: One of the big targets for Rivers will be his tight end, Antonio Gates. Gates led the Chargers in receiving against Houston with 49 receiving yards on just two catches. He can be a problem in the middle of the field if the Eagles linebackers are not careful.
This is a tough match-up for San Diego. With a short week to prepare for the Eagles offense, which may still have some tricks in the bag to unveil, and with having to fly across the country for a 1:00 p.m. kickoff, everything seems to be in favor of the Eagles heading in to this Week 2 match-up. The Eagles offense should be able to continue ticking against San Diego’s defense but with Rivers out there it will be necessary to keep pushing on offense instead of stalling as they did against Washington.
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Kevin McGuire is a Philadelphia area sports writer covering the Philadelphia Eagles and college football. McGuire is a member of the FWAA and National Football Foundation. Follow McGuire on Twitter @KevinOnCFB. His work can be found on Examiner.com.