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coleryan
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San Diego Chargers at Washington Redskins: Preview and Pick

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On 10/28/2013 06:50 PM in NFL
San Diego Chargers at Washington Redskins: Preview and Pick

The San Diego Chargers are one of the most surprising teams of the year as they have won some games to start a modest winning streak before heading into their bye week. Now after their bye week they will be taking on a team that has plenty of question marks in the Washington redskins. After a tough loss after they led the Denver Broncos, the Redskins will look to regroup with a win.

San Diego Chargers at Washington Redskins Odds


The NFL opening point spread for this game has the Redskins listed as a (PK) but that line will most likely change leading up to game time. The Redskins are a very popular team but the early betting returns show that the Chargers are getting more looks than the home team. In fact the Bolts are getting 59 percent of the betting action and although the lien has yet to change it will be interesting to see if the Redskins are home underdogs by the time they kickoff this game.

The secret to beating the Redskins is getting to Robert Griffin III. Robert Griffin III was sacked or put under duress on 42% of his dropbacks Sunday, the highest percentage of his career. Denver's defense didn't need to get too creative- Griffin really struggled against standard pressure, especially in the second half. Griffin was 2-of-7 for 23 yards and two interceptions against four or fewer rushers after halftime. - Griffin was 4-of-11 passing with an interception when under duress, and gained only one yard on his lone scramble when pressured. If the Chargers can get a good pass rush against the Chargers they have a shot to win this game and get a big win.

The latest football betting trends for this game reveals that this could be a high scoring game. The total has gone over in 15 of San Diego's last 22 games on the road and the total has gone over in 4 of Washington's last 6 games when playing San Diego. San Diego is 4-2 straight up in its last 6 games on the road and 5-1-1 against the spread (ATS) in its last 7 games on the road. Washington is 8-17 straight up in its last 25 games at home and they are 1-3-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing San Diego. San Diego is 5-1-1 ATS in its last 7 games overall and could get the big road win.

San Diego Chargers at Washington Redskins Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.
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10/29/2013 03:10 PM
Robert Griffin III and the Redskins are still dangerous, just far less often.

Last year, Griffin set rookie records for passing and running. He went 9-6 as the starter, lifting Washington to its first NFC East title since 1999. In the playoffs, he blew out the same right-knee ligament that was reconstructed in his sophomore year at Baylor. He underwent surgery 10 months ago (Jan. 8) to repair the torn anterior cruciate.

Griffin, withheld from all four preseason games, returned for the season opener and has started all seven games. He looks less comfortable this year. He is making late, rushed throws. Opponents are better reading his fakes and rollouts.

Nevertheless, Griffin ran away from Cowboys edge rusher DeMarcus Ware in Week 6. Against the Lions in Week 3, one heave traveled 64 yards. Two weeks ago, following two blockers who'd lined up in the backfield, he jetted by Bears defenders for 23 yards.

His left knee is more of a concern now. Last Sunday, after a defender landed on the knee, Griffin sat out the final 5:43 of Denver's 45-21 victory. Griffin said he could've played if needed. Monday, coach Mike Shanahan said the knee is "fine" but a little sore.

The Chargers (4-3) will face the Redskins (2-5) on Sunday in Landover, Md. Twice this year, they've gone on the road, failed to tackle a fast quarterback (Jake Locker, Titans, Week 3; Terrelle Pryor, Raiders, Week 5) -- and lost.

"It's just a mindset: we've got to tackle," cornerback Shareece Wright said.

Oddsmakers make the Chargers a one-point favorite to improve to 4-6 all-time against Washington. They won their previous road game of the series, in 2005, as three-point favorites. LaDainian Tomlinson's three touchdowns overcame Drew Brees' three interceptions in the 23-17 victory.

Defense's struggles:
The Redskins allow 33 points per game, same as San Diego's previous opponent, Jacksonville. Poor tackling plagues the unit, which lacks speed.

Watch out for: DeAngelo Hall.
Philip Rivers places cornerbacks into categories, depending on style. His category for Hall: "Dangerous," Rivers said. Hall plays press and off coverage well, closes fast, takes chances and can catch. Pressing jumbo No. 1 receivers Calvin Johnson (Lions) and Demaryius Thomas (Broncos), he disrupted slants and took the pass back for TDs.

Rivers U:
Rivers keeps track of his alma mater, North Carolina State, and noted that Redskins rookie David Amerson had a bunch of interceptions -- a school-record 12 -- two seasons ago. Amerson, a tall corner (6-foot-1) who runs well (4.44, 40), has played in all seven games, starting three. His loose coverage led to big gains in Weeks 2 and 3. At Oakland in Week 4, when backup Matt Flynn threw late, Amerson closed fast and went 42 yards for a TD that launched a comeback victory. Blitzing from outside the numbers -- a rare move -- he sacked backup Josh McCown in the Week 7 win over Chicago.

Playmakers:
Running back Alfred Morris (5-10, 218), a sixth-round pick from Florida Atlantic in '12, plays faster than his 4.67 speed. His patience and power suit Shanahan's foundational running play -- the stretch with backside cut blocks. Third-down back Roy Helu (5-11, 215), is fast (4.43) and powerful but often takes direct hits. Rookie tight end Jordan Reed (Florida, third round) looks like a find. He is beating defensive backs and linebackers. Pierre Garcon (6-0, 212), the nominal No. 1 receiver, is more apt to find room when Griffin's run threat creates extra space. He's a powerful runner. Leonard Hankerson (6-2, 211) stops and starts fast.

Griffin's backup:
Kirk Cousins (6-3, 209) is a pocket passer. In Griffin's stead Sunday, he was 5-for-9 with two interceptions, one a pick-6. As a rookie last year, he won his only start and was 33 of 48 overall (68.9) with four TDs and three interceptions.
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10/30/2013 11:40 AM
What to Watch For…

- On Offense for the Chargers

Entering Week 9, the Bolts continue to ride the hot right arm of Philip Rivers. Number 17 is coming off a historic game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. For the record, he completed his first 14 passes in the game (a team-record), became just the 37th QB in history to cross the 30,000-yard threshold for his career (the fifth-fastest in NFL history to do so) and he completed 84.6 percent of his passes (22 of 26) to become the first quarterback in team history with three games of 80 percent or higher in a single season. All together, Rivers has completed 184 of 249 (73.9%) for 2,132 yards, 15 touchdowns and just five interceptions. His completion percentage this season is nearly 10 percentage points higher than his career average (64.3) and his 111.1 passer rating (second in the NFL) is more than 15 points higher than his career rating of 95.6. Rivers has done a terrific job of spreading the wealth as the Chargers are one of only three teams in the league (Denver and Cincinnati) with five different receivers who have at least 22 catches and a touchdown.

- On Offense for the Redskins

Sophomore sensation Robert Griffin III is the clear focal point of the Redskins offense. The second-year passer is coming off offseason knee surgery, and while some say he looked rusty to start the year, he’s found his groove. RGIII has completed 158 of 268 passes (59.0%) for 1,878 yards, nine touchdowns and eight interceptions. He is second on the team in rushing with 240 yards, averaging 5.6 yards per carry. Washington’s leading runner is Alfred Morris. He’s toted the ball 108 times for 565 yards (5.2 ypc) and has four touchdowns. In regards to receivers, Pierre Garson leads the team with 47 catches for 512 yards and two touchdowns.

- On Defense for the Chargers

The San Diego defense is in the midst of one of its most impressive streaks in franchise history. The unit enters the game with a franchise-record-tying streak of 11 straight quarters without surrendering an offensive touchdown. That hasn’t happened since 1977. Over the last five weeks the defense is giving up only 309.5 yards per game (sixth-fewest in the NFL) and 15.8 points (fourth-fewest). Overall, the Chargers are seventh in the NFL in red zone defense, 12th in 3rd down defense and their 20.6 points per game allowed is ninth fewest in the entire NFL.

- On Defense for the Redskins

The Redskins on defense are led by the ageless wonder, 38-year old London Fletcher. In his 16th NFL season, Fletcher is second on the team in tackles with 52, just 10 behind leader Perry Riley. Meanwhile, Ryan Kerrigan is another disruptive force. He paces the squad with 6.5 sacks as well as three fumbles forced. Washington will also have Brandon Meriweather back after the safety served a one-game suspension.

- Series History

The Chargers and Redskins have only met nine times in the regular season. The Redskins won the first six meetings in the series between 1973-98, but the Chargers have won the last three, including victories in San Diego in 2001 (30-3) and 2009 (23-20). Sandwiched in between was a 23-17 overtime win in Washington in 2005. The Chargers’ all-time record in Washington is 1-4.

- By the Numbers

For the year, the Chargers rank fourth in total offense (402.9 yards per game), sixth in passing (294.1 ypg), 15th in rushing (108.7 ypg) and 13th in points (24.0). The Redskins rank seventh in total offense (394.4 ypg), 10th in passing (257.1 ypg), sixth in rushing (137.3 ypg) and 10th in points (24.7)

Defensively, the Bolts rank 23rd in total defense (378.6 ypg), 26th in passing (273.1 ypg), 16th in rushing (105.4 ypg) and sixth in points allowed (20.6). Washington ranks 29th in total defense (397.1 ypg), 27th in passing (273.7 ypg), 30th in rushing (123.4 ypg) and 31st in points allowed (32.7).
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10/31/2013 02:54 PM
Philip Rivers' revival has him again performing like one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL.

Robert Griffin III doesn't look to be anywhere close to approaching that lofty level.

Rivers and the San Diego Chargers emerge from a bye in search of their first three-game winning streak in almost two years Sunday when they visit Griffin and the struggling Washington Redskins.

The Chargers (4-3) have missed the playoffs the last three seasons, and Rivers shouldered much of the blame in the last two, throwing 35 interceptions and posting a pair of passer ratings under 90 after three straight years over 100.

Rivers is back among the elite in 2013, leading the NFL with a 73.9 completion percentage while ranking second with a 111.1 rating. He's also tossed 15 TDs to just five picks, three of which came in a 27-17 loss at Oakland in Week 5.

He hasn't thrown an interception since while leading San Diego to back-to-back wins. Rivers has connected on 44 of 59 passes for 522 yards with two scores, putting the Chargers on the brink of their first three-game winning streak since Dec. 5-18, 2011.

Rivers also is a big reason the offense ranks fourth in the league with 402.9 yards per game.

"He's been tremendous," general manager Tom Telesco told the team's official website. "I always said when your quarterback is the hardest-working player on your team, everything else falls into place. He's certainly one of those. He's a leader for us. His passion for football is off the charts.

"I can't ask for anything more than what he's done. Players follow him. He's our guy and it's fun having him as our quarterback."

The Redskins (2-5) aren't having nearly as much fun lately being led by Griffin, who has completed 59.0 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 79.2 rating.

He struggled again in last week's 45-21 loss at Denver, converting half of his 30 passes for a season-low 132 yards with one TD and two picks. His longest completion went for just 17 yards as he continues to have trouble building on last season's success with deep passes.

Last year, Griffin went 15 for 39 with seven touchdowns, one pick and a 115.1 rating on passes that traveled at least 21 yards through the air. He hasn't come close to being that effective in 2013, going 5 for 24 on such throws with two scores and three INTs for a 43.1 rating.

"Robert was new to the league," wide receiver Santana Moss said, "and lot of things that he did wowed people because they didn't know what the (heck) was going on. They didn't know if he was going to tuck it, if he was going to run it, they didn't know. Defenses would sit back and say, 'Hey, we got to find a way to prevent him from doing that.'

"When he's on doing that, then everything's wide open because you don't know what to stop. But when he's not, then we have to be a little more creative and say 'Hey, let's find a way to beat them without running Robert and doing the things that we did last year.'"

The Redskins may need to find some different solutions against the Chargers, who haven't allowed a touchdown in 11 consecutive quarters. The defense also has held opponents to an average of 309.5 yards in the past four games after giving up 470.7 per game over the first three.

"It's a matter of how quickly you can clean up your mistakes and not make the same mistakes," first-year coach Mike McCoy said. "That is a sign of a good football team and that is what we are doing right now."

The Redskins haven't done much of that, totaling 15 turnovers after committing five last week.

They're also still trying to find a reliable secondary receiver opposite Pierre Garcon, who hasn't reached the end zone for three straight games.

"I think we do have a second guy. Who that guy is right now, I'm not sure," coach Mike Shanahan said. "We've got to have a guy step up. We've got guys with the ability to be No. 2, but you want to take control."

Rookie Jordan Reed may be the likeliest option after catching 17 passes for 224 yards and a touchdown over the last two games.

Washington is expected to welcome Brandon Meriweather back after he was suspended for one game for multiple helmet-first hits on defenseless receivers.

The controversial safety made himself the center of attention again this week by claiming he'll need a new approach.

"I guess I've just got to take people's knees out," he said.

San Diego has won three straight versus Washington since a loss in the nation's capital on Dec. 6, 1998.
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11/01/2013 03:39 PM
Here are five story lines to follow in this game.

1.) Which Griffin shows up –
The Redskins returned from the bye and it appeared that second-year quarterback Robert Griffin III had turned the corner, recapturing the explosiveness and elusiveness against Dallas, and passing with great efficiency while also continuing to run vs. Chicago, when he passed for 298 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 84. But then he regressed vs. the Broncos, completing only 50 percent of his passes while throwing a touchdown and two interceptions, and mustering only seven rushing yards on five carries. The Redskins aren’t constructed well enough to win despite bad days from Griffin. They need him at his best just to have a chance. Griffin said he needs “to do more to help this team win,” but didn’t go into specifics. “Be better” was all he would offer despite prodding. Can he display greater confidence both in his own abilities and his line and receivers and play at an aggressive and high level this week? Or will the uneven play continue?

2.) The supporting cast –
Much of the blame for the passing game struggles fall on Griffin because he is the quarterback. But his receivers are not faultless. Pierre Garcon has been clutch, averaging seven catches and 73 yards. But no other wide receiver has managed even three catches per game. At times, the receivers have struggled to get open. Other times, Griffin hasn’t spotted them, and other times still, they have dropped passes (Washington ranks seventh in the NFL with 17 drops). The Redskins need another pass-catcher to emerge besides Garcon and tight end Jordan Reed. Playing time has fluctuated for Santana Moss, Leonard Hankerson, Josh Morgan and Aldrick Robinson. Coach Mike Shanahan said he knows he has a No. 2-caliber receiver on his team, but doesn’t know who that player is. Someone needs to capitalize on whatever opportunity he receivers, and force his way into consistent playing time with solid contributions.

3.) Play-calling –
The other factor in Griffin’s struggles centers on the play-calling, which has been uneven throughout much of the first seven games. Offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan said that against Denver he “didn’t do a good enough job” of calling the right plays and predicting the right coverages that his unit would face – particularly in the second half when Washington allowed 38 unanswered points and had five turnovers. “When I look back at it and I look at myself hard, obviously I didn’t do a good enough job,” Kyle Shanahan said. “When you turn it over five times in the fourth quarter, I mean, that’s all of us. But it starts with me.” His job is to mask deficiencies and put his players in prime positions for success. Can he do that this week?

4.) Pass defense –
A week after facing Peyton Manning, the Redskins gear up for another elite passer in Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. In his 10th NFL season, Rivers has gotten off to the finest start of his career, completing 73.9 percent of his passes (tops in the league) for 2,132 yards, 15 touchdowns and just five interceptions. He does a good job of getting the ball out of his hands quickly and can put the ball in tight windows. Rivers’s favorite target is tight end Antonio Gates, who boasts great size, strength, speed and athleticism. Gates has 42 catches (second-most among NFL tight ends) for 497 yards, but only two touchdowns. He could prove a nightmare matchup for Washington’s linebackers and safeties. DeAngelo Hall normally doesn’t match up with tight ends, but the cornerback said that he expected to at times draw the assignment of chipping in and helping limit Gates.

5.) Pass rush –
For the second time this season, outside linebacker Brian Orakpo didn’t record a sack, quarterback pressure or tackle when he faced the Denver Broncos. Defensive coordinator Jim Haslett and Mike Shanahan will both tell you that Orakpo impacted the game in other ways (including a fumble recovery). But the Redskins do need more out of the player billed as their top pass-rusher. Ryan Kerrigan has 6.5 sacks from his position on the left side of the line, but Washington needs Orakpo (three sacks in seven weeks with two coming against Oakland) to bring the pressure on Rivers as well. The Chargers’ leading rusher, Ryan Mathews, has been just average, rushing for 4.1 yards per carry. If the Redskins can stop the run and then get after Rivers, the chances for turnovers increase and this game should play out favorably for them.
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11/01/2013 03:39 PM
Safety Brandon Meriweather is scheduled to return to the Washington Redskins’ lineup Sunday against the San Diego Chargers after serving a one-game suspension for illegal hits.

The week has been filled with plenty of talk about Meriweather’s play. Meriweather said Monday that “you’ve just got to go low now. You’ve got to end people’s career. You’ve got to tear people’s ACLs and mess up people’s knees now.” DeMaurice Smith, the executive director of the NFL Players Association, said in a written statement later in the week that Meriweather was “sorry” about what he’d said.

Redskins Coach Mike Shanahan said Friday he’s confident Meriweather will play effectively in his return and won’t be hesitant on the field despite all the discussion about how he plays.

“I think sometimes people get a little carried away with that,” Shanahan said. “We understand what the rules are and he’s been penalized for it. We’ve been penalized as a team as well. So he knows where the emphasis is and he wants to play football for a long time. When he does get that hit, he’s gonna try to hit in the right area. Hopefully he does.”
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11/01/2013 03:41 PM
Philip Rivers has three 400-yard passing games this season and could be ripe for a fourth — the Redskins have allowed 15 touchdown passes and a 65.8 completion percentage through their first seven games.

Rookie WR Keenan Allen is emerging as Rivers’ most trusted threat, but tight ends have ribbed the Redskins all season and TE Antonio Gates is just three yards shy of hitting 500 for the 11th consecutive season. The Redskins were able to hit and rattle Peyton Manning last week.

With similar shakeups of Rivers — sacked 11 times behind much-improved protection this season — ballhawking CB DeAngelo Hall could bring the defense the big plays it needs to turn the scales in Washington’s favor. The Redskins can take a page from the Chargers’ book with a more conservative passing game.

RBs Alfred Morris and Roy Helu, Jr. will get plenty of work with San Diego likely without Donald Butler, their best run-stopper in the back seven. Adding in mobile QB Robert Griffin III, the Redskins lead the NFL with 5.0 yards per carry.

The Chargers are ranked No. 30 in average yards per carry at 4.0 yards. The Chargers are going to be challenged winning this matchup, as they have struggled against mobile quarterbacks — see the Titans’ Jake Locker and the Raiders’ Terrelle Pryor.
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11/02/2013 11:33 AM
The Chargers won’t have tackle Mike Remmers (ankle) and linebacker Donald Brown (groin) is doubtful. Guard Chad Rinehart (toe) and wide receiver Eddie Royal (toe) are both questionable.

Safety Jose Gumbs (ankle) is questionable for the Redskins.
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