The Chargers are coming off a week in which they won and who knows, maybe it will kick start the engine. It wasn’t a pretty victory but sometimes that’s what it takes to get the ball rolling. This week however they will be headed to up state New York to pay a visit to the Buffalo Bills who have put themselves in the playoff race. I’m not going to sugar coat it because this seems like it’s going to be an uphill battle if they want to pull this one off. The 7-3 Bills are coming off of a bye week so they will be well rested. The week before they suffered a last second hail mary loss too the Arizona Cardinals so they will be more than eager to come out and make a statement. This is something I’m sure the Bolts are well aware of. However they say that there typically is nothing more dangerous to a contender than a team who has nothing to lose. Enter the Chargers! Here are some keys to victory if the Bolts are indeed going to pull off a upset.
Hayward vs Diggs
There is no secret that Casey Hayward has had his struggles this season, and especially in the last month. In fact in week 11 he was only able to garner a coverage grade of 29.9 against the Jets wide outs. Well it just so happens that Buffalo’s number 1 wide receiver is Stephon Diggs, who much like our very own Keenan Allen generates a ton of targets, and rightfully so. Diggs has 101 total targets through the season thus far and 42 in his last 4 games alone. Some say that Hayward is declining and while that is very possible it’s also possible that he is struggling in certain coverages this year. Mainly cover 2 and cover 3 which Gus Bradley has been employing an awful lot this season. That could be just a talking point however as Hayward was always perceived as a guy who excels in zone. This could also just be a case of the whole team has struggled and it is wearing on guys emotionally along with physically. None the less Diggs is the main focal point of the Bills offense and has helped them and Josh Allen elevate their play to the next level. Although Allen has been streaky as a QB in the last 5 games or so. Maybe the defense should consider ditching single high free saftey looks this week and assign a saftey as full time help for Hayward. This isn’t necessarily a knock against Casey as much as it is a nod to the talent of Diggs.
Containing Buffalo’s pass rush
The Chargers have had trouble up from along the offensive line all year. Luckily for the Chargers Justin Herbert is not only mobile but has also the ability to throw very accurately and with precision while on the run. This has bailed the Bolts line out many times this year but even with Herbert’s mobility he has been sacked at least once in every game this season, including 3 times against a below average Jets pass rush. This dosnt bode well when facing a team who has a total of 27 sacks and 59 QB hits. The 27 sacks is tied for 8th most in football. The offense may want to consider drawing up some designed roll outs just to keep Herbert out of the pocket because at this point I’m not to sure how much you can trust the line to give you a consistent clean pocket.
Slowing down the Bills run game
Buffalo possesses a young talented duo of two power back in Zack Moss and Devin Singeltary. It’s been well documented how the Chargers have had their struggles against the run this season and have given up big yardage to hard runners such as Mike Davis and James Robinson. Hell they could hardly slow down a 38 year old Frank Gore last week. Buffalo also loves their boot leg’s, so if they can manage to slow down Singeltary and Moss then they can take away a few of Buffalo’s tricks. A heavy dose of Denzel Perryman should help but I think its time to roll out some of the younger defensive tackles to see if they can possibly stop the run better than Square or Tillery. I mean there is nothing to lose at this point right?