As we approach what should be another excellent weekend of football, I thought I'd share some thoughts on the Chargers' offense as they look to chalk up another win against the hapless Oakland Raiders.
(Photo Credit: Mike Nowak/San Diego Chargers)
TOMLINSON STILL HASN'T BROKEN THE CENTURY MARK
It's been 16 games (regular plus postseason) since Tomlinson has rushed for over 100 yards. That's basically a whole season. Each week we get a glimpse of "the old LT" and yet Tomlinson still hasn't found his Pro Bowl form. In fact, his Pro Bowl years are likely behind him - but I'm okay with that. What I do want to see is solid contribution week in and week out. If LT can get 70 yards on 18 carries, like he did two weeks ago against Denver, I'd be pretty happy. And if LT can get another 30 yards off of 3 receptions, I'd be stoked.
But what can't happen is a ground game that shows up one week, and is non-existent the next. The Chargers face the Oakland Raiders Sunday, which gives them an opportunity to build upon the things they did right against Kansas City last weekend. Make no mistake, the Chiefs and the Raiders are terrible teams, and dominating them should not be considered rites of passage into the gates of postseason. But what playing KC and Oakland in back to back weeks does for the Chargers is it allows them to gain some confidence and hopefully build some momentum against the New York Giants as they wrap-up the first half of their season. But first they must put Oakland away. Norv Turner would face mobs and pitchforks if he were to lose to the Raiders.
OFFENSE STRUGGLING ON THE GOALLINE
Something Charger fans aren't very used to; the Chargers offense is finding it hard to punch it in at the goalline. Obviously the struggles in the run game aren't helping matters much, and certainly the offensive line has lost much of it's once-feared physicality, but perhaps another reason is Norv Turner's downfield offense is stunted once it gets to the red zone. During the many training camp practices I attended, their red-zone offense reps were almost exclusively passing plays to Floyd, Jackson, and Gates. That's translating out to the regular season play calling, but they're getting mixed results.
Personally, I'd like the Chargers to go "Jumbo" more often down at the goalline and pound the rock. But stay away from the penalties please!
RIVERS HAS NEVER LOST TO THE RAIDERS
Rivers has Oakland's number, that's for sure. He's never lost to that team, and that's probably a record he holds particular pride in. As we talked about earlier this week, Rivers is playing at a Pro Bowl level but he's doing it in a conference with plenty of elite QBs. A win against the Raiders isn't high profile, but what it might allow PR to do is to pad his stats. As we all know, there are plenty of voters who are stat junkies, so adding 300 to 400 yards and a handful of touchdowns will certainly help Rivers stay in that league-leading mix.
MY WEEKEND PICKS
* Houston over Buffalo
* Chicago over Cleveland
* Seattle over Dallas
* St. Louis over Detroit
* Baltimore over Denver
* Indianapolis over San Fransisco
* Miami over NY Jets
* NY Giants over Philadelphia
* Jacksonville over Tennessee
* San Diego over Oakland
* Arizona over Carolina
* Minnesota over Green Bay
* New Orleans over Atlanta
So what will you be watching for, in terms of the offensive side of the ball, as the Chargers host the Raiders this weekend? Want to see some different people carry the ball more? Looking forward to seeing Chris Chambers bounce back after all those drops? Should Sproles be involved more? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and lets get the discussion started.
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