NFL Rumors: When will Ryan Mathews return to the San Diego Chargers?

San Diego Chargers starting running back Ryan Mathews broke his clavicle last Thursday and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks. Mathews said that he is trying to return at the earliest which would be the regular season opener on the road against the Oakland Raiders.  The Chargers went on a 13 game winning streak against Oakland from 2003-2009, but they were 1-3 against them from 2010-2011.  Mathews did not play in San Diego’s victory against Oakland last season and neither did Oakland’s starting RB Darren McFadden.

If Mathews misses San Diego’s first regular season game of the 2012 NFL season, he could be back by week two which would be a home game against the Tennessee Titans.  The Lightning Bolts have won their last eight games against the Titans dating back to 1993 when the latter played their home games in Houston.  This includes a 17-6 win in the playoffs during the 2007 NFL season and a 33-25 win during the 2010 season.

If Mathews is not back by week two, he should return by week three, which is a home game against the Atlanta Falcons.  The Chargers have a 1-7 record all-time against Atlanta and have lost their last five games against them dating back to the 1991 season with the most recent loss being a 22-16 defeat during the 2008 season.

In two games against Oakland, Mathews has 15 rushing attempts, 93 yards and no touchdowns.  Although Mathews averaged 6.2 yards per rush attempt, San Diego lost both games.  In one game against Tennessee, Mathews had 15 rushing attempts, 43 yards and a touchdown in 2010.  Mathews was selected as the 12th pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, so he has not played in a regular season game against Atlanta.