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Preview: Eagles go coast to coast for matchup with Chargers

By: Jesse Larch, Sports Talk Philly editor 

The Eagles will play against the Los Angeles Chargers for the first time since 2013 this Sunday at StubHub Center. In the short history between these two teams the Chargers lead the series 7-4. The Chargers have won the last two meetings and the Eagles last victory came way back in 2005. 

Of the 106 players on the two rosters, there are 11 players remaining for either team from that 2013 meeting. Those players are Philip Rivers, Keenan Allen, Antonio Gates, Jahleel Addae, Corey Liuget, Nick Foles, Zach Ertz, Brent Celek, Najee Goode, Mychal Kendricks, and Fletcher Cox - who will not dress this weekend. 

That is a drawn out way of saying that history means nothing this Sunday. 

The Eagles are getting the Chargers at an interesting time. They are 0-3 on the season, and they have lost their last eight games dating back to last season. Normally that would mean this game should be an easy win, but there is nothing predictable about the Chargers. 

From week to week Philip Rivers is dangerous. He has proven in his career that he is talented enough to explode for a great week at any time. Rivers has also proven to be an extremely frustrating quarterback in terms of consistency. 

The Eagles are catching Rivers after he threw three interceptions and no touchdowns with a 37.2 quarterback rating against Kansas City last week. Rivers has 25 interceptions since the start of last season (19 games), however he has also managed to throw 37 touchdowns. As a team, the Chargers are tied for the most turnovers in the NFL since the start of last season with 39. 

Despite losing eight straight games and being plagued by turnovers, the Chargers are not to be overlooked. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram anchor one of the best pass rushes in the NFL. The Chargers' defense has registered 11 sacks which is second most in the NFL. Bosa is the reigning defensive rookie of the year and he did not even need a full season to secure the award. Melvin Ingram was just named the AFC defensive player of the month for September.

Factor in that two of the Chargers losses this season came on missed field goals in the waning seconds, and the Chargers are a much more dangerous team than their record suggests.

It is worth noting that the Chargers have faced the Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, and Denver Broncos so far this season. Those three teams all have offensive lines that are not on par with the Eagles' offensive line - which played at an elite level last week

While the Chargers as a whole are underwhelming, the Eagles are not at full strength heading into this game after losing Fletcher Cox and Darren Sproles in week three. Sproles is done for the season and Cox has been ruled out for this week with a calf strain.

Jordan Hicks also left last week's game but has since declared that he will be fine for Sunday. If he does not suit up then the Eagles are in trouble as Tim McManus of ESPN notes:

The Eagles showed great resiliency in their win against the Giants last week, but they were not without their struggles due to those injuries. Fletcher Cox is a massive loss for the defensive front in both the run game and the pass game. The secondary will get a boost with safety Rodney McLeod looking ready to go

On the offensive side of the ball the rushing game came alive after some shifting along the offensive line. The Eagles eclipsed their total from the previous two weeks when they ran for 193 yards against the Giants. The loss of Sproles will change how the Eagles use their running backs. 

Wendell Smallwood is expected to get the majority of the touches that are being vacated by Sproles after his season ending injuries. It will be a good week for Smallwood to show what he can do as the Chargers allow the second most rushing yards per game averaging 146.7 rushing yards allowed per contest.

The Eagles have an edge in almost every category in this one, but having to adjust to their injuries, traveling literally to the other side of the country, and playing in an alien environment like the StubHub Center - which usually hosts MLS games - just gives this game a bad vibe. The Eagles should win this one handily but do not be surprised if it is one of those strange afternoons where the Eagles just never get going. They will get some help though, with a large part of the crowd expected to be Eagles fans that may turn the City of Angels into a home away from home.

Injury Report:

The Eagles have listed the aforementioned Cox as out for this contest in addition to cornerback Ronald Darby, safeties Corey Graham and Jaylen Watkins, and defensive tackle Destiny Vaeao. Linebacker Jordan Hicks and safety Rodney McLeod are both listed as questionable, but both are expected to play.

The Chargers have ruled out rookie wide receiver and top-10 pick Mike Williams who is yet to make his NFL debut after suffering a back injury prior to the season. Los Angeles has listed running back Melvin Gordon, right tackle Joe Barksdale, middle linebacker Hayes Pullard and tight end Sean McGrath as questionable. Gordon and Barksdale are key players for the Chargers' offense but are expected to be ready to play on Sunday.

The Chargers also placed top cornerback Jason Verrett on injured reserve last week, so the Chargers will be adjusting to a big loss in their secondary on Sunday.

All players that were listed as questionable for both teams practiced in full on Friday. 

Broadcast Information:

Time: 4:05 p.m. ET

Television: FOX commentated by Dick Stockton, Mark Schlereth, and Shannon Spake

Radio: 94.1 WIP commentated by Merrill Reese and Mike Quick

Online with NFL Game Pass


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