John Woz, Jr. | December 14th, 2019
The Chargers looked more like the team of 2018 last Sunday when they crushed the Jaguars 45-10. The Bolts are 1-1 against teams from the NFC North. The Vikings are this week’s opponent.
The 5-8 Chargers are out of the playoffs but they can have a big say in the NFC North standings when they face the 9-4 Minnesota Vikings. Mike Zimmer’s team have eyes on the No.2 seed in the NFC, this is a massive game for them. The 10-3 Packers lost to the Chargers in LA, it’s a result the Vikings must avoid.
Do the Chargers have a new face of the franchise? Austin Ekeler was the standout player in last week’s big win over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ekeler was the first Charger to achieve over 100 rushing and 100 receiving yards in the same game since 1985.
Derwin James‘ return to the 53-man roster is a huge boost. James picked up where he left off last season. It’s not all good on the Bolts’ defense. Jerry Tillery has not lived up to a first-round selection. Tillery was inactive last week and omission from the team tomorrow will further dent his confidence.
Minnesota has a good chance of clinching the NFC North but they’ve had some disappointing results. The Bears held them to six points in Week 4, but they are a very good team on their day.
The Vikings have plenty of talent on their roster. I love watching Dalvin Cook and Stefon Diggs. Cook has had a monster year, with 1,108 rushing yards and 503 receiving yards. Derrick Henry is the only player to match Cook’s 13 rushing touchdowns in 2019.
Diggs needs three receiving yards to reach the 1,000 yard milestone. The Chargers will need their secondary to play at a high-level against Diggs. Kansas City and Seattle hold the blueprint on how to stop the Minnesota wideout, they held him to four yards and 25 yards, respectively. Diggs will punish any team given the chance. The Eagles found that out in Week 6.
Kevin Stefanski could have Adam Thielen back from injury. Thielen is a good route runner, but I expect him to have limited reps.
The Vikings have a monster on the other side of the football. Danielle Hunter‘s 12.5 sacks on the season make him one of the most feared pass rushers going into the playoffs. Hunter registered three sacks in last week’s win over the Lions. In doing so, Hunter became the youngest player in NFL history to reach 50 sacks last Sunday.
Safety, Anthony Harris leads the Vikings in turnovers with four interceptions. Watch out for Eric Kendricks on Sunday, he’s made a big impact in Minnesota’s defense. Kendrick has 103 tackles on the season.
Chargers Keys to Victory
The Chargers set the bar for the final three games of the season with a complete performance in Week 14. If the Bolts want to win on Sunday, they must play to the same level when the Vikings come to town. The offensive line must block Hunter on every snap, or Philip Rivers will be in for a rough time.
Rivers played like the player we’ve all grown to respect in Week 14. However, Rivers should not give the Vikings an opportunity to turn the ball over. The Chargers are at their best when they are not chasing games.
The Vikings will test The Bolts No.4 ranked pass defense this Sunday. Kirk Cousins has 24 touchdowns and four interceptions this season. Stopping Cousins throwing the football to his receiver corps will be a challenge. I’m interested to see how Derwin Jamesmatches up against Diggs and Kyle Rudolph.
Chargers Injury Update
Uchenna Nwosu is questionable.
Vikings Injury Update
Xavier Rhodes is questionable.
I want to see Rivers playing with the same confidence he played with in Jacksonville. If the Chargers play at anything less than 100 percent they will lose. Ekeler and Melvin Gordon must provide a one-two-combination against an average run defense.
Week 15 could be a trap game for the Vikings. Coach Zimmer can’t take this game lightly. Can the Bolts step up and cause an upset in the NFC playoff picture? There’s no pressure on the Chargers. If they can start the 1st quarter well, they have a good chance of winning the game. I take Chargers to win by a field goal.
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