Week 2: Chargers-Eagles matchup analysis

The Sports Xchange
The SportsXchange

San Diego Chargers (0-1) at Philadelphia Eagles (1-0)
Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia - TV: FOX
*TV announcers: Greg Gumbel, Dan Dierdorf
*Keys to the game: The Chargers somehow must put aside their defensive collapse in the second half Monday night, travel cross-country on a short week and contend with Eagles coach Chip Kelly's high-octane offense. While San Diego used three-receiver sets on 69 percent of its plays against Houston, the Chargers would be wise to slow the game down and give RB Ryan Mathews an opportunity to help establish lengthy drives to help protect the defense. QB Philip Rivers started strong last week, but his decision making and accuracy waned in the second half. Kelly actually wants the Eagles' offense to speed up, with players getting the ball to officials quicker in order to gas opposing defenses. The Chargers aren't deep defensively, so conditioning could certainly play a major factor. Philadelphia ran the ball 49 times on Monday night, but the main concern is the pounding QB Michael Vick is taking in the quick passing game.
*Matchup to watch - Chargers WR Malcom Floyd vs. Eagles CB Brandon Boykin: Floyd is Rivers' deep threat and most trusted target outside of TE Antonio Gates. With Bradley Fletcher's status uncertain due to a concussion, the 5-9 Boykin is expected to move from the nickel spot to the right side, where he would give up eight inches to Floyd. Another option is for the Eagles to leave Boykin in the slot and start Brandon Hughes on the outside.
*Player spotlight - Eagles OLB Trent Cole: Cole made the transition from end when the Eagles converted to a 3-4 scheme over the offseason, but he remains primarily a disruptive pass rusher. He dropped into coverage on just nine of 62 snaps in Week 1.
*Fast facts: The Chargers have lost six halftime leads in their past 13 games. ... The Eagles ran the ball 30 times in the first half in Week 1. In the previous five seasons, they had 20-plus carries in the first half just twice in 80 games.
The Chargers' conditioning will be put to a serious test playing the Eagles on a short week. Philadelphia should be able to keep San Diego on its heels defensively and steadily wear the Chargers down on a tough road trip.
*Our pick: Eagles 33-24

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