The Turning Point


The San Diego Charger’s game in Cleveland could be the most important one this season for the Chargers. If they happen to lose this game, I would think there is little chance that they could win this division or a wild card spot, unless they are able to win it at 9-7. Including this game today the Chargers still have to play the entire AFC North, which may be the strongest division in the AFC. San Diego is going to need to win all of their games against the bad teams left on their schedule and steal a couple against the good teams to set themselves up for a playoff push.

After the terrible loss to Denver on Monday Night before their bye, it is unkown whether this team is going to bounce back. Norv Turner is going to have his team up to the task because although the Browns only have one win, they are a feisty bunch that brings everyone they play to the brink. But as Bill Parcells once said, “You are what your record says you are.”

Keys to the Game: Philip Rivers needs to return to his Pro Bowl self. He does not need to be the best player on the field today to win the game this afternoon. But he cannot be turning over the ball five times. In fact he should not turn the ball over at all against this team. Rivers has seemingly regressed as a player over the last couple of years. Has he really or has the players and the team’s defense eroded. If that is so he still needs to play better than what he he has. Good quarterbacks need to hide the deficiencies of their team.

This defense must tighten up on their coverages this week. Last week Peyton Manning ripped them up in the second half. Quentin Jammer has to play much better than what he did in that game, because he was embarrassed on a couple of plays. Brandon Weeden has surprisingly been pretty good over the last couple of weeks. After a rough start to the season, Weeden has settled in as the starter and has played effectively enough to put Cleveland in positions to win. Having Shareece Wright back in the lineup should give the secondary the depth that they have been missing all year.

Injuries: Shareece Wright and Jared Gaither are probable. And receiver Eddie Royal is questionable. The bye week has definitely allowed the Chargers to regain their health.

As for Cleveland, they are decimated with injuries. What is surprising is that there is a strong chance that Trent Richardson will play after being able to practice throughout the week. Injury prone receiver Mohamed Massaquoi is questionable and defensive tackle Ahtyba Rubin is ruled out.

Final Analysis: This game comes down to the most important factor in the NFL. Motivation. In the parity laden NFL, there is not a lot that separates each team in this league. Today’s game is much more important for the Chargers than it is for the Browns and I believe the Chargers will play like that as well. San Diego 28 Cleveland 13.

 

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