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Sunday walkthrough: Chargers - Eagles

Discussion in 'Latest Chargers News & Headlines' started by robdog, Oct 23, 2005.

  1. robdog

    robdog Code Monkey Staff Member Administrator

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    This is the ninth meeting between the Chargers and Eagles with the Bolts leading the series 5-3. This will be the first visit to Lincoln Financial Field.

    2005 RANKINGS: Chargers: offense 10th (4th rush, 22nd pass); defense 21st (3rd rush, 27th pass). Eagles: offense 8th (32nd rush, 1st pass); defense 19th (23rd rush, 18th pass)
    KEYS TO THE GAME: The Eagles will never be a balanced offense under coach Andy Reid, but they must get back to utilizing RB Brian Westbrook, who is averaging just 3.5 yards per touch over the past two games compared to 7.8 through the first three.

    Reid won't be able to resist taking shots at San Diego's secondary, which is allowing 245.3 passing yards per game and is vulnerable to the big play. That puts a lot of pressure on the Chargers' offense to run the ball successfully and control the clock against a fresh Eagles team coming off its bye.

    Philadelphia does allow 118.0 rushing yards per game, which means they will see plenty of RB LaDainian Tomlinson.

    San Diego is finishing a tough four-game stretch in which it will have played three of the four teams from last year's conference championship games, so coming out with some early energy and building a lead is critical.

    Chargers:

    The Chargers are getting healthy - well healthier, anyway.

    Right tackle Shane Olivea was able to work for the second day in a row as the team prepares for its Sunday date with the Philadelphia Eagles.

    And while left guard Mike Goff (ankle) didn't work, he was walking noticeably better and said he would go this weekend.

    Center Nick Hardwick (ankle) also didn't practice, but he was holding out hope he could play.

    It's hard to overstate how critical it is that the line can get fit and put up a good effort this weekend. If the Chargers are going to upset the Eagles in Philadelphia, they will likely do so by running the ball.

    The key is keeping the ball away from quarterback Donovan McNabb and a high-powered Eagles offense that is No. 1 in the league in passing. As far as matchups go, that sends shivers down the Chargers' spine.

    The Chargers have struggled all year defending the pass and if they are asked to do so on a steady basis, it will be a long day against the Eagles.

    So while all the attention is on running back LaDainian Tomlinson has he tries to set an NFL record for consecutive games with a touchdown (19), don't overlook the big boys in front of him. If the line is compromised, so, too, will be the Chargers chances to surprise the Eagles in their own nest.

    Eagles:

    Running back Brian Westbrook took reps again Thursday returning punts, along with cornerback Lito Sheppard and the club's regular punt and kickoff returner, Dexter Wynn. But special teams coordinator John Harbaugh said no decision has been made yet on who will return punts Sunday against San Diego.

    "Well, I think there's always a chance of Westbrook returning punts," Harbaugh said. "I know it's the same thing we've been saying for two years. But he's in the mix. He practices, and he's always an option for us, without question."

    Harbaugh also said there is a good possibility some more regulars will play on coverage and return teams Sunday as the Eagles try to fix the leaks in their special teams. He said Pro Bowl middle linebacker Jeremiah Trotter has even been practicing on the kickoff coverage unit.

    "We mix starters in all the time," Harbaugh said. (Weakside linebacker) Keith Adams played last week. (Strongside linebacker) Dhani Jones plays on the punt team and kickoff return team. Trotter practiced on the kickoff team. It's not our plan to put (Trotter) on the kickoff team. I don't think we need him, but all those guys are part of special teams."

    PREDICTION: Eagles 28-24
     

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