5 Reasons Philly Will Have The Edge Against The Chargers
By Frank Irving
The San Diego Chargers (0-1) travel to Philadelphia (1-0) in Week 2 to battle the Eagles in an AFC-NFC matchup at Lincoln Financial Field. The Chargers are coming off a 24 point second-half meltdown at home against the Houston Texans, while the Eagles white-knuckled their way to a road victory despite giving up 20 unanswered points down the stretch against the Washington Redskins.
Neither the Chargers nor the Eagles scored in the fourth quarter, which begs the question: Which team is more likely to rebalance and produce a more sustained effort this week?
My money is on the Eagles for the following five reasons:
1. The home opener gives an emotional edge to the Birds. Their vocal fans will be emboldened by a Week 1 offensive performance that was the talk of the NFL. In the history of this rivalry, Philadelphia has won 3-of-4 games played on its home field.
2. The Chargers must travel three time zones for Sunday's 1 p.m. eastern kickoff. Over the past five years, NFL teams playing outside their home time zone have won only about 42 percent of their games, according to Football.com's stat expert Jerry Tapp. Add to that Philadelphia's capacity to run as many as 30 plays in a quarter, and fatigue will become a factor — especially late in the game — for the visiting Chargers.
3. The Chargers were handily outgained by the Texans despite the close score (31-28). Houston rolled up 449 total yards to San Diego's 263. Houston also held a 26-14 edge in first downs. In comparison, Philadelphia outgained Washington by a measure of 443 to 382 yards, and held a 26-25 advantage in first downs.
4. The Eagles unveiled the NFL's best rushing attack against Washington, with LeSean McCoy, Michael Vick and Bryce Brown combining for 263 yards and two touchdowns on 49 carries. Coach Chip Kelly has little reason to stray from that formula against a Chargers defense that graded out at 18th in the league in run defense last week, according to ProFootballFocus. The Eagles graded out first in the league in run blocking.
5. The Eagles' defense played considerably better in their first regular season game than they had in the preseason. They held Washington to 2-of-10 conversions on third down, which put the ball back in the hands of what could evolve into the NFL's most dynamic offense. The defense also chipped in with three sacks and two interceptions.