The Washington Redskins and the Los Angeles Chargers are two teams going in opposite directions. Washington have lost five of their last seven and have seen their playoff chances dwindle down to a mere small mathematical possibility. The Chargers on the other hand, have won six of their last eight, and are very much in the playoff picture. As such, thehave them just shy of a touchdown road dogs.
Despite there only being a game between the two teams in overall record, the 6-6 Chargers still very much have something left to play for. They come into the matchup as the 7th seed, just one game (and slot) out of the playoffs. They sit behind the 7-5 Jaguars and Ravens, who hold the 5th and 6th seeds respectively, and more importantly, the two AFC Wild Card positions. However, the Chargers are also tied with the Chiefs atop the division with the Chiefs holding the tiebreaker (and 4th seed) currently – so not only is a Wild Card still a possibility, but so is winning the AFC West.
The Redskins are currently three games out, with four games to go. With a host of teams between them at the 11th seed, and the 6th seed of a Wild Card berth. Their chances can still be calculated mathematically, but realistically, the Redskins aren’t going to make the playoffs even if they run out the table. They’re playing for pride and 2018 jobs.
They’re also coming off of an ugly loss. ALL NFC East divisional losses are bad, but nothing stings worse than a loss to the Dallas Cowboys – especially when it’s a 38-10 drubbing. The Redskins left Dallas with their tail between their legs, and they will have to dig deep on Sunday in Los Angeles to come up with a much better showing.
The Chargers come into the game having won three games in a row, but two of the wins did come against the Browns, and the Bills. Last week Los Angeles dominated Cleveland despite a slim 19-10 margin of victory. The Chargers won the turnover battle 2-0, outgained the Browns by almost 150 yards (429 vs 291), and held the ball for almost ten minutes more.
Chargers quarterbackcomes into the game with the hot hand, but on paper, he and Cousins have very similar numbers. Both have thrown 21 touchdowns this year – Rivers has thrown seven interceptions, to Cousins’ eight – and Rivers has 3289 yards passing, to Cousins’ 3292. Cousins tips the scales with a slightly higher quarterback rating at 99.6 to 96, but it’s basically a dead heat.
Keenan Allen has been the main beneficiary of Rivers’ play of late, and currently has 77 catches for 1,032 yards and five touchdowns. Redskin fans may remember Allen from a breakout game in his rookie 2013 season against Washington when he caught eight passes for 128 yards and a touchdown – his best game of the season. Allen’s next catch will set a new career season best for him, and the one after that will be his 300th career reception, so expect the fifth year receiver to look to make an impression early.
On the ground, Melvin Gordon leads the team’s rushing attack with 207 carries for 775 yards and five TDs.
The Redskins will be looking to improve in all facets of the game this week, including on special teams.
Offensively, the live will have to protect Cousins better and give him more opportunities to make plays. Jamison Crowder needs to rebound from a terrible outing against the Cowboys, and be the weapon he can be in the slot. Samaje Perine has to get back on track too, or the offense will be too predictable.
Keeping Rivers off the field will only help the Redskins’ chances for success.
Kickoff on Sunday is set for 1:05 p.m. at the StubHub Center.