Seahawks vs. Chargers: Everything you need to know
Seattle (4-3) earned its best victory of the season last week at Detroit (3-4). Now the Seahawks return home to face the Los Angeles Chargers (5-2), the best opponent Seattle will have taken on next to the Los Angeles Rams (8-0).
Seattle is beginning the toughest part of it schedule. Following the Chargers, the Seahawks play at the Rams, home vs. Green Bay (3-3-1), and then at Carolina (5-2). To remain firmly within the playoff hunt, Seattle must win at least two of the next four games. Getting victories at either the Rams or the Panthers would appear to be long-shots.
Therefore, Seattle must take care of business at home against the Chargers and Packers.
How and where to watch
Time: 1:05 p.m., Sunday.
Where: CenturyLink Field, Seattle.
TV: CBS (Koin 6).
Radio: Portland, KFXX, 1080 AM and Portland, KGON, 92.3 FM
Seattle has a pretty clean injury report. Not one player is listed as being out.
Questionable are linebacker K.J. Wright (knee), safety Bradley McDougald (knee) and running back Chris Carson (hip). All three are expected to play, according to coach Pete Carroll.
Doubtful are reserves, guard Jordan Simmons (calf) and cornerback Neiko Thorpe (groin).
For the Chargers, out are defensive end Joey Bosa (foot), who has yet to play this season, defensive end Christopher Landrum (hip) and linebacker Kyzier White (knee).
Running back Melvin Gordon (hamstring) is questionable but is expected to play.
When the Seahawks have the ball
Seattle's running game has been elite the past five weeks. The Seahawks rank fifth in the NFL in rushing and should have another strong game against a Chargers defense that has been below average against the run (16th) and the pass (18th).
Furthermore, they've been below average while facing the likes of Buffalo, San Francisco, Oakland and Cleveland.
One must concluded that Seattle's combination of its rushing attack and the sometimes perfect execution of QB Russell Wilson will equal strong offensive production on Sunday for the Seahawks.
“They look like one of the hottest teams in the league right now, winning four out of the last five (with) the way that they are playing defense collectively and creating turnovers," Chargers' coach Anthony Lynn said. "Offensively, Russell (Wilson) had a perfect quarterback rating last week, they are rushing the ball as good as anyone in the league."
When the Chargers have the ball
Statistically, the Chargers appear to have an elite offense. QB Philip Rivers, 17 touchdown passes, is on pace to break his single-season personal best of 34 touchdown passes set in 2008.
“He’s so smart," Carroll said of the 37-year old QB. "You just can’t fool the guy. He just sees everything. He’s got great sense. That’s kind of where it starts, but he also has extremely great accuracy."
Complimenting Rivers is RB Melvin Gordon, who is making life difficult for opposing defense to key on Rivers and his top-flight receivers.
"You mentioned (Rivers') age, he will be 37 this season but he’s done an outstanding job of connecting intentionally, connecting with his teammates and being a leader," Chargers' coach Anthony Lynn said." Guys respond to that."
On paper, it appears to be a difficult matchup for the Seahawks, who have played just one real quality offense this season belonging to the Rams. However, the Chargers have rattled off numbers against some of the worst defenses in the league.
By the numbers
Minus 1 1/2: The Seahawks are favored by 1 1/2 points over the Chargers.
Plus 10: Seattle is second in the NFL in turnover differential at plus 10. Seattle has forced 16 turnovers while committing just six.
21-10: Wilson has been sacked 21 times compared to 10 for Rivers. However, Wilson has been sacked just nine times over the last five games after going down 12 times in the first two.
26-24: Seattle leads the all-time series 26-24. The Chargers won the first eight meetings from 1977 through their first meeting in 1981 when they were AFC West division rivals. Seattle has won 11 of the last 15 meetings and last hosted the Chargers in 2010.
Seattle's defense will have its work cut out for it against the Chargers' offense. Rivers and Gordon will make enough plays to give San Diego a chance to win.
However, there won't be any stopping of the Seahawks' offense. Seattle will break 150 yards rushing again and Wilson will get it done in the passing game. Once in the red zone, Seattle will score points. The Seahawks rank third in the NFL in red zone scoring percentage (73.7 percent, up from 55.5 last year).
Score: Seahawks 27, Chargers 23