San Diego comes into the contest after a bye week and sitting at 4-3. Expected to be one of the worst teams in the league by many before the season began, the Chargers are proving skeptics wrong. Currently, they sit in the sixth and final spot of the AFC playoff picture.
Washington, on the other hand, is a major disappointment. The Redskins are coming off an NFC East title but are 2-5 and look nothing like the team that made the playoffs in 2012. Still, the playoffs are well within reach in their division, which the Dallas Cowboys lead at 4-4.
Meet the Chargers
This team goes as Philip Rivers goes. Most teams are tied to their quarterback play, but the Chargers are even more attached than most. Luckily for San Diego, Rivers is having one of the best seasons of his career, throwing for 2,132 yards and 15 touchdowns while only throwing five interceptions.
Ryan Mathews has provided some semblance of a running game, averaging 4.1 yards per carry and only fumbling once, a problem that has plagued him throughout his career. Danny Woodhead has also been a huge pickup, totaling 486 yards from scrimmage. In fact, only Antonio Gates has more targets (56) than Woodhead's 45.
On the defensive side of the ball, San Diego has some issues. The Chargers can be roasted in the passing game, allowing 273.1 yards per game, 26th in the NFL. However, they do have 20 sacks despite no single player having more than three. Eric Weddle leads the team in tackles with 47.
Meet the Redskins
With Washington, it is all about the offense. Robert Griffin III has struggled throughout the campaign after tearing his ACL in the playoffs last year, but the unit is still putting up yardage and points. The offense ranks 6th and 10th in rushing and passing yards, respectively.
Griffin has thrown for 1,878 yards, but only has nine touchdowns compared to eight interceptions. More alarming is his 59 percent completion percentage, a number that is sub-standard for a top quarterback. On the flip side, running back Alfred Morris is proving his rookie season was no fluke, racking up 565 yards on 5.2 yards per carry.
On defense, the Redskins are flat out bad. Washington allows 397.1 yards per game, which is only better than three teams. The biggest issue is against the run, where teams average 123.4 yards. The New England Patriots and Jacksonville Jaguars are the only two teams who give up more. The worst, and most important, stat is the 32.7 points surrendered per game, a figure just 0.3 better than the 32-ranked Jaguars.
Local take: San Diego
Over at Bolts From The Blue, John Gennaro writes about general manager Tom Telesco missing an opportunity:
He should've noticed how bad the present and future looks at nose tackle, and he should've bought low on Isaac Sopoaga. This, to me, is Tom's first miss as the Chargers' General Manager.
Local take: Washington
Mark Tyler of Hogs Haven discusses the offensive line's issues when running the ball:
Another issue is our inability to run to the right side of our formations. We are incredibly lopsided when it comes to where we gain our yards in the running game. We can pound the football off-tackle as long as it is behind Trent Williams. We can run stretch and toss as long as it is behind Trent Williams. If we run to the right, it seems to get immediately blown up. This puts a lot of pressure on the Shanahan's when they are limited to where and when they can call plays.
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It's a damn shame Telesco didn't trade for Sopoaga. That's a move he needed to make.— Bolts From The Blue (@BFTB_Chargers) October 30, 2013
Expect a ton of points to be scored and a relatively close game. This is one that will probably be decided by a big mistake late in the game, with one of the quarterbacks getting antsy and throwing into double coverage with the clock winding down. Both teams have high-powered offenses but lousy defenses, which should make this very interesting to watch.
Pick: Washington 34, San Diego 31
The Chargers and Redskins have a line of even, according to Oddsshark.com.