San Diego Chargers fans were shocked and dismayed about the epic collapse that happened at the hands of the Miami Dolphins in Week 9. Now, with the bye week over, what do the Chargers need to do to turn their season around?
As everyone undoubtedly already knows, the injury bug has bit the Chargers a little bit more than most teams, but the injuries alone cannot be blamed for the three game skid this year. To turn their season around, they need to start winning and considering the strength of their schedule they need to start winning now.
Most Chargers fans also remember the epic run into the playoffs that they made last year winning four of their last five and then beating the Cincinnati Bengals on the road before losing to the Denver Broncos in the Divisional round.
This year though, coming off of the bye week, they play seven more games, three of which are important for division placing and another two games against conference rivals, one of which they were fighting against for the final AFC wild card spot at the end of last season.
After an 0-4 start, the Raiders decided to part ways with their coach, and since have gone 0-5 under interim Head Coach Tony Sparano. The key to winning this game at home is going to be to get ahead early and don't give them the ball too easily. Also, with the return of Ryan Mathews as well as a few other injured offensive players, it will be key to get the running game going with Ryan Mathews and Branden Oliver. The defensive players coming back from injury will also help. It is going to be important to get pressure on QB Derek Carr and force him to make mistakes and then capitalize on those mistakes. Can they win against Oakland at home? Yours truly believes they can but that is just the beginning of the turnaround that they need.
St. Louis Rams
The St. Louis Rams have had moments of brilliance followed by mistakes of epic proportions and playing in San Diego with the noise of the crowd, has flustered even the best of teams. So it will be interesting to see what happens with the Rams in the time leading up to this game.
Denver has been on a massive winning streak overall, except for against the New England Patriots. Denver also beat San Diego this year once already at Sports Authority Field, and could potentially do that again. It's also time to pick Head Coach Mike McCoy's brain a bit on what Peyton and the offensive line for the Broncos can and will do in certain situations and get him and Defensive Coordinator John Pagano on the same page with how to stop Peyton. At this point though, Peyton seems to be taking out everyone in his path on his way to make the postseason and make up for the embarrassing loss at the hands of the Seattle Seahawks last year in the Super Bowl.
New England Patriots and Baltimore Ravens
These two games are against AFC rivals and wins against these two teams could potentially give the Chargers the tie breakers they would need to get into the wild card race in the AFC.
Head Coach Mike McCoy told the press in his press conference today that Every-down running back Ryan Mathews, inside linebacker Manti Te'o, safety Jahleel Addae, and outside linebackers Jeremiah Attaochu and Melvin Ingram are all expected to return from various injuries and practice this week. Whether they will play still remains to be seen, however, it is not on these few players to turn them back into a winning football team. It is also important, according to McCoy, that the other 46 players play better than they have and the coaches coach better than they have.