Game Scout: Chargers-Redskins

Jeff Reynolds, The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

San Diego Chargers (4-3) at Washington Redskins (2-5)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at FedEx Field, Landover, Md. - TV: CBS
*TV announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts
*Keys to the game: 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.
*Matchup to watch - Redskins SS Brandon Meriweather vs. Chargers RBs Danny Woodhead and Ryan Mathews: The running game is getting into gear with a three-player rotation -- including a season-high 158 yards in the last game at Jacksonville. Meriweather's sloppy tackling and range can be exploited.
*Player spotlight - Chargers ILB Manti Te'o: His responsibilities could be many this week, including sideline-to-huddle communication, if Butler, the other starter inside, can't play. Te'o is still finding his game after missing three games with a foot injury.
*Fast facts: The Chargers have won four straight games in the Eastern time zone. ... Since Week 12 of last season, Morris is averaging 100.7 rushing yards per game.
Unfazed by another cross-country flight and daylight savings time change, San Diego controls the ball and contains RB Alfred Morris to keep Washington at bay.
*Our pick: Chargers 30-20

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