The 2020 NFL Season has not been kind to the Los Angeles Chargers thus far. Not only have they faced some tough competition early on in the Chiefs and the Buccaneers, but Austin Ekeler’s injury makes things even tougher going forward.
It’s not all doom and gloom, however. The Chargers have competed in each of their first four games, with each being a one-score decision. The rookies have been forced to step up, but they’ve been up to the task so far.
Week 5 brings about a tough matchup on the road against a surging Saints team that seems to be finding their stride. Let’s take a look at some key points that will help decide the outcome this coming Monday.
3. The Pass Rush Needs to Show Up
Last week was a clinic on how NOT to deploy a successful pass rush. Not only did Tom Brady throw for a whopping 5 touchdowns through the air, but the defense didn’t record a single sack. Simply put, that won’t get the job done.
The Chargers have been largely competitive on the defensive side of the ball, so it may be that last week’s game was simply an outlier. But unless they want to drop a fourth straight game, the defensive line will need to be much more aggressive.
2. Attack Through the Air
Herbert has been nothing short of spectacular in his first taste of NFL action. Although he remains winless, it isn’t all on the rookie QB. The passing game has been tremendous since Herbert was inserted at quarterback and this week should be more of the same.
The Saints have given up 11 passing touchdowns out of their 15 total allowed, meaning that the Chargers should feel comfortable following the same gameplan on offense. With Austin Ekeler out for the foreseeable future, the passing game will be featured more consistently regardless.
This will be an interesting matchup that should give fans a preview of what this offense will look like for the next 4-6 weeks.
1. Win the Possession Battle
With a veteran QB like Drew Brees, the time of possession is something that could mean the difference between victory and defeat. In last week’s loss against Tampa Bay, the Bucs were +10 minutes in the time of possession battle. Again, this simply won’t get the job done.
The best way to win against an all-time great is to keep him on the sidelines as much as possible. If the Chargers can win the time of possession battle, they might just have a shot at coming away with a victory on Monday Night Football.
- LA Chargers at New Orleans Saints
- Monday, October 12th @ 5:15 PM PT on ESPN