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Friday, October 21, 2005 | Bye the Way. For the third straight week San Diego finds itself battling a well-rested opponent. Pittsburgh and Oakland had an extra week to prepare for the Chargers. After a tough loss to the Steelers, the Bolts beat up the Raiders while cruising to a 27-14 victory. They stand at 3-3 on the season with a bye still three weeks away.
Philadelphia Freedom. Philadelphia is 6-0 under head coach Andy Reid following a bye week, outscoring the opposition 137-78 in the process. The Eagles took a week off to lick their wounds following a 33-10 drubbing at Dallas. They have won 17 of the last 20 games following a loss.
Vote for L.T. LaDainian Tomlinson is making a serious run for league MVP. He could run for mayor and win in a landslide after last week’s performance. L.T. became just the seventh player in NFL history to pass, run and catch for a touchdown in the same game. He also tied a league record by scoring in 18 consecutive games. Look for another fine showing against Philly, which has surrendered more than 140 yards on the ground to three of its first five opponents.
One-Dimensional. Donovan McNabb is also a leading candidate for MVP. He continues to dominate despite playing with a sports hernia. McNabb has 200 pass attempts through five games because the Eagles refuse to run the football. Brian Westbrook leads the team with 231 yards rushing, but averages a mere 11 carries per game. In fact, Westbrook has 61 more yards through the air than on the ground. Terrell Owens is the top target. He already has 37 receptions for 556 yards and four TDs. McNabb and Owens form a lethal combination that could spell doom for San Diego.
Silent But Deadly. The Chargers defense does not get the props it deserves because a high-powered offense equals headline attention. What a shame considering the D is the best in the AFC against the run and ranks fourth in the conference with 17 sacks. The Achilles heel remains a suspect secondary that enters this week battered and bruised. Drayton Florence and Sammy Davis are nursing ankle injuries. The Chargers need to pressure McNabb consistently or risk being torched by big plays.
Footnotes. Chargers place kicker Nate Kaeding has made 10 consecutive field goals. His counterpart, David Akers, is one of the best in the business. However, Akers is out of action for a while with a torn hamstring. Rookie Todd France has made four of five field goal attempts in two games with the Eagles.
Rough Road. The Bolts emerged victorious from the Black Hole, but face an even tougher audience in their first visit to Lincoln Financial Field. Pure hatred for opponents is the trademark of Philly fans and one of the reasons why the Eagles are hard to defeat at home. The Chargers have lost two of three games at Philadelphia.
Kevin Aron is a freelance writer in San Diego and outright sports junkie. Kevin has worked in college sports information, sports agent offices and, most recently, as managing editor of DIRECTVSPORTS.com for nearly five years.