Week one is finally here, and to kickoff this magical weekend we had the Packers and Bears on Thursday Night Football. For Chargers fans, they have to wait one more day to finally see a meaningful snap, but let’s take this time to take a look into what we can expect for Sunday’s showdown.
Both teams have glaring weaknesses that the opponent will do their best to exploit. It’s no secret the Colts’ Achilles heel will be Jacoby Brissett, and their first task will be keeping him calm and comfortable. Chargers’ Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley will do his best to make sure that does not happen. Bradley will be attacking from different angles to confuse Brissett with different defensive fronts mixed with aggressive play calling, blitzes, inside stunts, or extra defensive backs in the box. If the Chargers’ defense gets pressure and turnovers early Brissett might not be able to get out of his own head. With all of the play makers on this Chargers defense it can end up being a long day for Indianapolis.
On the other sideline is offensive guru Frank Reich, and there is no doubt he will draw up the most effective plays with the lowest risks for his young quarterback. The Colts’ do not need Brissett to be a hero; they just need him to make the smart play. We can expect a lot of running plays behind that great offensive line, screen plays, and quick passes to T.Y. Hilton in space to try to get the playmakers involved. The game plan will be long and effective drives to try and wear out the defense early and keep Rivers and company sidelined as much as possible. Brissett’s athleticism cannot be ignored either. He is a threat in space and on play action, and if the Chargers are over-aggressive Reich will definitely take advantage. With no Derwin James on defense there might be a couple big play opportunities for Indy on Sunday.
The Chargers’ Achilles heel is a big one. Their offensive line will be tested early and nobody should be surprised when the Colts send the house on third down. Last year’s DROY Darius Leonard will be all over the place, and the Colts will dial up some blitzes to get him going. Last year Leonard was a tackling machine, and if nobody blocks him we should all start praying for Philip Rivers.
To counter that we are going to see a heavy amount of plays ran from shotgun. Running out of the shotgun formation naturally gives the line more time to block, and it is a safe bet that we will see Ekeler and/or Hunter Henry consistently chipping on blocks before releasing on their routes. Timing is an imperative component of the Chargers’ passing offense, and every moment will count to allow plays to develop downfield. If there is time for those plays, Whisenhunt should have no problem to getting into a play calling groove.
On a side note: A fun matchup to watch will be Keenan Allen versus rookie corner “Rock” Ya-Sin.
Both of these teams are in divisions that are expected to be heavily contested for first, so their determinations to get to a fast start weigh more than other weaker divisions. The outcome of this game will be decided by execution, matchups, but most of all the coaches on the sideline. Their weaknesses are no secret, so it will all truly come down to who is better coached, disciplined and who has the right 53.