San Diego Chargers vs. Atlanta Falcons Preview
The San Diego Chargers will play the Atlanta Falcons at home on Sunday at 1:05 PDT. San Diego has a 1-7 record all time against Atlanta which includes five straight losses dating back to the 1991 NFL season.
While losing five games in a row against an opponent is bad, four of the five losses were by six points or less, so the Chargers kept these games close. The last meeting happened during the 2008 season which was a 22-16 win by Atlanta.
This will be a battle between two high powered offenses because Atlanta ranks second in the NFL at 33.5 points per game while San Diego is fifth at 30 points per game.
Atlanta quarterback Matt Ryan is tied with Buffalo Bills QB Ryan Fitzpatrick for the NFL lead with five touchdowns, but unlike Fitzpatrick, Ryan has no interceptions.
San Diego QB Philip Rivers has four touchdowns and one interception through two games. Rivers is tied for third with seven quarterbacks in TD passes.
Atlanta running back Michael Turner was seventh in the NFL last season at 84 rushing yards per game while San Diego RB Ryan Mathews was 12th at 78 yards per game.
Turner has struggled so far with 74 total yards in two games and an average of 2.6 yards per attempt. Mathews has not played yet because of a broken clavicle he suffered against the Green Bay Packers, but should be ready to go on Sunday.
Roddy White had six receptions for 112 yards in the 2008 victory and currently ranks seventh in the NFL with 14 receptions as well as 10th in receiving yards per game with about 95.
Atlanta’s secondary will have to focus on preventing big plays to Malcom Floyd who is averaging 88 yards per game and is third among active players with an average of 18 yards per reception in his career.
Atlanta is giving up about 23 points per game which ranks 15th in the NFL while San Diego allows 12 points per game which ranks second.
This will be the first true test for San Diego’s defense in 2012, so it will be interesting to see if they are able to contain Atlanta. I expect a close game on Sunday with Atlanta winning 34-31.