The time has come. It is officially football season! The Los Angeles Chargers head to the nation’s capital to take on last year’s NFC East Champions for their Week 1 matchup.
In what is expected to be the biggest NFL season yet, the Chargers are beginning to make a name for themselves. A brand new coaching staff and the return of Offensive Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert should propel the Bolts to higher expectations in 2021.
Last season didn’t turn out how the Los Angeles Chargers would have hoped, but finishing the season winning their last four games should be a good sign to move forward with. Here are their keys to victory in the Chargers vs Washington matchup.
Los Angeles Chargers Keys to Victory in Week 1 vs Washington
It all starts in the trenches. The Chargers’ offensive and defensive lines have played under expectations the last few years. So, what did the Bolts go out and do this offseason? Upgraded the big men. Los Angeles welcomed top center, Corey Linsley, in free agency and drafted Rashawn Slater to seriously upgrade the offensive line. That should allow for Herbert to feel more comfortable in the pocket, and allow for a better run game.
Washington is a good football team. Their defense is elite, especially their defensive line. It’s going to be a tough first game for the new Chargers’ offensive line, but that is why they went out and upgraded it. It is going to take an all-out effort from the line to contain the WFT defense, and Herbert will have to keep his head on a swivel more often than not. Former No. 2 overall pick defensive end Chase Young should make an impact.
Health. The single most important factor to winning games for the Chargers is staying healthy. With reports of Austin Ekeler already dealing with a hamstring injury, his ability to play the full game will be vital.
Another major key to victory is situational football. Last year, the Los Angeles Chargers lost games because of simple mistakes. The coaching staff couldn’t figure out how to finish games. Whether it was under two minutes in either half or wasting valuable timeouts early in the game, the Chargers couldn’t figure it out. This new coaching staff has already proven to fix that problem. New head coach Brandon Staley said that he won’t allow for those mental mistakes to continue to happen. If the Chargers can play well in two-minute situations on both sides of the ball, then we should see a significant improvement for this team.
Chargers vs Washington Preview
The Chargers’ defense might be one of the more underrated units in the league. The return of All-Pro safety Derwin James Jr. is something every Chargers fan has been waiting for. His return, alongside the return of linebacker Drue Tranquill, should benefit the defense. The entire unit is healthy as of now, and that will go a long way for this team.
The Bolts rookies will have a big impact in this game, and all year. Slater is the top gun as he should solidify the left side of the line. Asante Samuel Jr. is a rising star and should help fellow cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Michael Davis tremendously. Receiver Josh Palmer will get a ton of reps and his size should be a key factor in the red zone.
Another name to keep an eye on is rookie linebacker Nick Neimann. He is a tackling machine and will be one of the top special teamers in 2021.
Chargers vs Washington Prediction
I expect the Chargers to win and start the season 1-0. It won’t be an easy one and may be a low-scoring game, but the Chargers should come out on top. Ryan Fitzpatrick will be starting for the WFT and he’s proven to get the job done, regardless of what team he’s on.
The Justin Herbert and Keenan Allen connection should start right where they left off last year, creating multiple highlights.
This game will be a great season opener.