Chargers Need to Be Ready For Eagles’ Tempo

Well, there are Chargers and then there are “super-chargers.” Judging from an explosion from the Philadelphia Eagles in the opening week of the NFL season, you could probably apply the latter term to them. And San Diego certainly has to be on its toes to keep up with Michael Vick & Co. as they move it up the field. The meeting between these teams on Sunday is slated to kick off at 1 PM ET at Lincoln Financial Field in the City of Brotherly Love, which has much “love” for the new coach and the new offense right now, although that is always conditional.

In the NFL betting odds that have been posted at Bovada, you can see that the Eagles are getting some respect:

Philadelphia Eagles -7.5 +100
San Diego Chargers +7.5 -120

Over 55 Points -110
Under 55 Points -110

The new up-tempo offense of Chip Kelly was a smashing success in the Eagles’ opener, at least for a little more than one half of play. As Philadelphia got off to a 33-7 lead, some people had visions of a 50-point total. But Kelly put on the brakes to a certain extent in the second half, using the clock a little more, and you know, maybe that is one of the things he has realized in the NFL – that sometimes when you get way up on a foe they can bite back if you give them enough time. The Redskins actually had a chance to get back in the game, and one drive where they missed a field goal was a killer.

The big producer in Week 1 was LeSean McCoy, who had 184 yards on the ground, and Michael Vick’s elusiveness is proving to be a pretty good fit for this offensive approach. It is likely to be a while before defensive coordinators can be completely comfortable in dealing with the pace that is set by this Philadelphia “O.”

That could have gone the other way, of course. Vince Lombardi always thought that the more complicated the offense, the greater likelihood for mistakes, and that makes perfect sense. Suffice it to say that on those occasions when the Eagles are bad, they might be VERY bad.

Will they be bad as they face San Diego and head coach Mike McCoy, who is moving into his second game on his new job? We don’t know that the Chargers offer anything extraordinary on defense for the Eagles to deal with, although it should be acknowledged that they did put up a very spirited effort for McCoy in his debut, for at least three-quarters of the game before losing that big lead to Houston, which is the presumptive champion of the AFC South.

What can’t be ignored is the change, and possible improvement, on the part of the Eagles’ defense, which is now being piloted by Bill Davis. They are coming with a 3-4 alignment, and they will be coming with a lot of pressure on Philip Rivers, who was serviceable but not sensational by any means against the Texans. One of the things that has to work for the Chargers to make any noise at all is the offensive line, because as you probably recall, that unit gave up 49 sacks last season.

Against Houston, which has a firmly established defense, Rivers went down twice.

What any NFL bettors who are thinking about backing San Diego have to keep in mind is the possibility that there is some kind of psychological carry-over from letting a very winnable game slip away. And truly, when it comes down to who suffers from more of a disadvantage from having a short week after the Monday night doubleheader, we’d think it was San Diego, because a lot of teams are going to need extra time to get ready for the Philadelphia onslaught.

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