The Los Angeles Chargers open the season on Monday Night Football against their AFC West rival Denver Broncos. It will be a late game, but that doesn’t make this game any less important for the Chargers to come out with a huge win. The first game of the season always sets the tone, but especially with a divisional foe standing in their way.
The Bolts have lost three out if their four season openers. It’s been five seasons since the Chargers have even won a game in Denver. But this is a season of promise, potential and optimism. With a new city, new coach, new acquisitions why can’t the Chargers surprise the NFL world?
But how do the Chargers go into a hostile Sports Authority Field, on national television and pull off a huge win? They have to control and execute three key factors.
Run Melvin Run!
Melvin Gordon ran for a total of 205 yards in two games against the Broncos last season. Including a 111 yard performance in Denver.
The Broncos have a solid defense but there weakness maybe the defensive line. With above average players like Derek Wolf and free agent acquisition Domata Peko and Zach Zerr making their debut for the Broncos. The Chargers upgraded their offensive line through the draft and free agency. This unit should definitely open up holes for Gordon and company. This will allow the Bolts to assert themselves and pound the ball for four quarters. The Chargers only have three running back on the depth chart, so look for Gordon to be that bell cow they need him to be.
To beat the Broncos the Chargers can’t fall in love with the passing game. Be balanced and hand the ball to Gordon and control the clock. The longer the Broncos defense in on the field the better.
Keep Rivers’ Jersey Clean
This isn’t just a key factor for this game but the whole season. Both teams have issues with their offensive at time. So this game will definitely feature elite pass-rushers on both sides. But Chargers must keep Von Miller and the rest of their pass rushers away from Philip Rivers.
Von Miller can disrupt an entire offense by his lonesome. Just ask Cam Newton and the rest of the quarterbacks in the NFL. This is where newly signed free agent Russell Okung shows his value. He played in Denver last season and we will matchup with Miller for most of the game. Hopefully his familiarity with the Broncos schemes could benefit not just him but the whole offensive line as a whole.
In the end the Chargers must keep Rivers upright and keep his jersey as clean as possible. If the Broncos get pressure consistently and rack up sacks, they have a great chance of winning this game. This defense is too talented and will definitely capitalize on any mistake the Charges make upfront.
When you give Philip Rivers time to survey the field, he can pick any defense apart. This new offensive line needs to give Rivers the time he needs to be successful. With all the weapons they have on offense, protection must be the main if not the number one priority for the Bolts.
Play With Passion and Stay Aggressive
In order for a road team to win in a hostile environment they must take the crowd out the early and often. How do you that? You stay aggressive from start to finish. Usually the teams that hits the other team in the mouth first always wins, especially if you are the road team. The Chargers must have this mindset.
Anthony Lynn is the new head coach and he has a chance to make a great first impression. He must have an aggressive but smart game plan. Show the Broncos from the gate that these aren’t the same old Chargers. Make a statement early, whether it’s a long touchdown drive on the first possession or forcing the Broncos on a three and out.
The Chargers need to be the more dominant and physically imposing team. This is a new team, with a coach and a new city. It is time to add a new culture to Chargers football. Their former head coach was consistently conservative, maybe Lynn can take the bull by the horns stay assertive this week and the rest of the NFL season.
Every game is important in the NFL but for the Los Angeles Chargers this a huge game. With the Kansas City Chiefs making a huge statement, beating the defending champion New England Patriots, the Chargers cannot fall behind in the division. This game will show if the Chargers are ready to take that next step. Let’s stop waiting until the middle or end of the year to win and start now. They have what it takes to steal a victory in Mile High city. Let’s see if the Bolts can start the year off with a bang or once again be a disappointment.
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