By Rob Milligan – Los Angeles Chargers Writer
“The season starts this week” is a phrase often used by fans of various NFL teams, but that really is the case for the Los Angeles Chargers. The Bolts have had a rocky start to the season, sitting on a record of 1-2 heading into Week 4, but they now face three winless teams in a row: the Denver Broncos, the Pittsburgh Steelers and, first off, the Miami Dolphins.
The Dolphins are undoubtedly ‘tanking’ and clearly already have one eye on the 2020 NFL Draft – or at least that is how their start to the season looks. Miami has already conceded 133 points through three games this season while only managing to score 16. However, they did manage to put together their performance of the season so far last week against the hot Dallas Cowboys, but it’s very clear to see how low the bar has been set for this season.
Nevertheless, something that may fill the Miami fans with hope for this weekend is that they actually have a very strong record over the Chargers at home, winning 10 games out of 14. And let’s not forget, this is the Chargers team that lost to the Cleveland Browns in 2016, ending their 17-game winless run. It’s safe to say, anything is possible when it involves this Chargers outfit.
Key to victory for the Chargers
For the Chargers to go to Miami and come away with the victory, they must replicate their performance of the first half last week when they led the Houston Texans 17-7, and not fade away from the game after half-time. The Bolts may also be boosted by the return of star running back Melvin Gordon, who reported for training this week for the first time this season. Gordon was holding out for a new contract (which is still yet to be offered) and although he remains doubtful for Sunday, there’s still a small possibility that he could feature.
The Bolts must improve on the defensive side of the ball as last week, they effectively stopped the run game. They allowed just 39 rushing yards, but let Texans quarterback DeShaun Watson unleash for 337 through the air. So far this season, it appears that the defense can only stop one form of attack. However, it needs to be a combination of the two if the team is going to compete with the very best teams in the NFL.
Both teams will be heading into this game low in confidence, with both suffering back-to-back losses. The first half of the game will be key to easing those nerves and building a platform for the rest of the season.
Score prediction: Chargers 37, Dolphins 14
I think that the Chargers will come out hot in the first half, blowing away the Dolphins 37-14. However, I feel Miami should manage to score a couple of touchdowns late in the game.
(Feature Photo – Credit: Leon Bennett/Getty Images)