Some of the best memories in Melvin Gordon's career have come in the state of Wisconsin. For example, as a member of the Wisconsin Badgers, he was able to put up an amazing 408 yards for a then single game rushing yardage total against the Nebraska Cornhuskers, and that was less than a year ago on November 15. Now he will be coming into the state as a member of the enemy of the most beloved team in the state. That's because he was drafted fifteenth overall in the 2015 NFL Draft by the San Diego Chargers, and they will be playing the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday afternoon.
The Chargers (2-3) came so close to victory in their last game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Mike Tomlin made the gutsy call to go for it by the goal line down three and Le'Veon Bell made them pay by getting in the end zone for a 24-20 victory. For the most part, the Chargers have done well this season as they have been within a touchdown in all of their games, except for their week three loss to the Minnesota Vikings.
Philip Rivers has been awesome this year, but it's because of the lack of wins that people are not talking about him as one of the top quarterbacks in the league. He has thrown for the most passing yards in the league through five weeks, with 1,613 passing yards. But the area he has struggled is his touchdown to interception ratio, which is 10:5.
Melvin Gordon is the Chargers leading rusher through five games, as he is part of a running back by committee with former Patriot Danny Woodhead. He has a total of 71 carries for 270 yards, which is much better than Woodhead's 154 rushing yards, but Woodhead does have two rushing touchdowns. Also, Woodhead is more of a third down back as he is second on the team in receiving yards, with 269 yards. Gordon will be looking for his first career NFL touchdown again this week as he has been held out of the end zone to this point in his career.
Young wide receiver Keenan Allen has been fantastic again for the Chargers as he leads the team in receiving with 444 receiving yards and three touchdowns, but the biggest thing for the Chargers was that last week Antonio Gates returned from his four week suspension. In his only game of the season, Gates piled up nine catches for 92 yards and two touchdowns. It will be a good matchup between Gates and the safeties of the Packers this week.
Meanwhile the Green Bay Packers (5-0) are clearly led by quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers threw his first two interceptions of the season last week against the St. Louis Rams. In the meantime, he has 13 passing touchdowns and just those two interceptions to make himself one of the leading candidates for the NFL MVP through five weeks.
Rodgers primary targets through five weeks have been James Jones and Randall Cobb. Jones has been the deep threat as he has compiled eight receptions of 20 yards or more. So, his 19 catches have gone for 394 yards and five touchdowns. Cobb has been more of a possession receiver this season as he has 28 catches for 312 yards and four touchdowns of his own this year. They are a difficult pair to stop, but Eric Weddle is an excellent safety and it will be interesting to see how the Chargers defense matches up against these strong receivers with Rodgers expected to target them both several times throughout the game.
Meanwhile the Packers backfield is completed by the fact that Eddie Lacy has 63 carries for 257 yards. Lacy was hurt a while this year so James Starks has filled in as well and has a total of 174 rushing yards to make him the second leading rusher just a little bit ahead of Rodgers rushing total of 146 rushing yards.
One major thing to note is that the Packers defense has taken their game to another level this season, and it appears that Mike McCarthy's continued trust of Defensive Coordinator Dom Capers has been well received.
For this game, it just seems like the Packers path to 6-0 being at home makes this game easier than if it were going to be in Qualcomm Stadium. Their home field advantage is one of the best in all of football and with Julius Peppers, and Clay Matthews still rushing Rivers, the Chargers passing game will likely struggle. Plus, the Packers main weakness has been their rushing defense, so they will try to get out to a big lead and force the Chargers hand so that they can line up and rush the passer.
This game will be won by the Packers as Aaron Rodgers and the offense will be too much for the Chargers defense. The final score prediction for this contest is that the Packers will win 38 to 17.