By Kevin McGuire
After edging the New York Giants in the home opener, the Philadelphia Eagles are back on the road again this week for the third time in the first four weeks of the NFL season. This week, the Eagles head to the Los Angeles area for the first time since 1990 as they take on a Chargers squad in a frantic search for a win.
The Chargers' move to Los Angeles has gotten off to quite a rocky start on and off the field. On the field, the Chargers are becoming a desperate bunch after dropping the first three games of the season. They are 0-2 at their new home as well. In the all-time series, the Chargers hold the lead with a 7-4 record against the Eagles in games dating back to 1974. The Chargers have also won the last two meetings between the teams with wins in San Diego in 2009 and in Philadelphia in 2013.
Chargers on Offense
It's been a while since the Chargers could run the ball the way they used to, and that should again be a shortcoming this week against the Eagles. Melvin Gordon has rushed for 146 yards for the NFL's 27th-ranked rushing offense. Philip Rivers is coming off a rough outing against Kansas City, but will be counted on to make plays against the Eagles secondary to avoid an 0-4 start to the season.
Chargers on Defense
The Chargers have just one interception recorded so far this season. Opposing quarterbacks have completed 68.7 percent of their passes against the Chargers too, which suggests Carson Wentz and the Eagles' passing game should be able to move the football. On the flip side, look for Wentz and the offensive line to be under pressure. The Chargers have recorded the second-most sacks in the NFL with 11 sacks through the first three weeks of the season (tied with Kansas City and Pittsburgh, and trailing only Jacksonville).
Chargers Players to Watch
Antonio Gates, TE: In his 15th season in the league, Antonio Gates may not be the player he once was. However, he can still be a problem for the Eagles. Gates has been targeted just 12 times this season, and he has caught six of those passes for 58 yards.
Joey Bosa, DE: The second-year end can help bring a pass rush to disrupt Wentz. Bosa had six tackles against Kansas City, as well as credit for half of a sack. The former first-round, third-overall pick should be feisty in the trenches.
The Eagles face their third road test of the year already, and the trip to the West Coast could be a dangerous one given how desperate the Chargers may be getting. The Eagles must play a more consistent game on offense and keep it up in the second half, even if things are going well. Doug Pederson's familiarity with the Chargers after his time in the AFC West as a Kansas City assistant may help to some degree, but not allowing Philip Rivers to go off is the key to a road win.
This will be the first trip to Los Angeles for the Eagles since Sept. 23, 1990 for a game against the Los Angeles Rams (before the Rams moved to St. Louis, and thus before they moved back to Los Angeles last year). The Eagles are 4-5-1 all-time in games played in Los Angeles and this will be the first time the Eagles have faced the Chargers in the city.
for more features.