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LA Rams-Chargers: Five Chargers to watch

The “Fight for LA” gets an early matchup with two teams considered to be strong contenders this season.

NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

The “Fight for LA” begins as the Los Angeles Rams host the Chargers. With both teams entering the season on paper to being contenders this year, the Rams enter with a 2-0 record while the Chargers come with a 1-1 after being victimized by Chiefs QB Patrick Mahomes in Week 1. With my favorite Charger out in this matchup (get well soon Joey Bosa), here are five other Chargers that the Rams are likely to key on.

WR Keenan Allen

Arguably the best offensive player, Allen has started the year on a solid note, racking up 175 yards on 14 catches with a touchdown. Always considered an elite talent, Allen’s trouble has simply been the ability to stay on the field. The Chargers receiver has missed 23 of the last 50 games entering this contest. Look for CBs Marcus Peters and Aqib Talib to challenge Allen. Ironically, there is plenty of familiarity as Peters and Talib were with AFC West teams prior to this season.

RB Melvin Gordon

The Los Angeles market has two stud running backs. Although the Rams’ Todd Gurley is probably the better player, Gordon is no slouch either with a very strong start to the 2018 season. While Gordon has also shared some responsibility with Austin Ekeler, he has managed to rush for 92 yards and a touchdown while also catching 15 receptions for 140 yards and two touchdowns. The Rams linebackers will likely be targeted via the pass so don’t be surprised to see some unique gameplanning to slow down Gordon.

QB Philip Rivers

It’s very hard to remember the Chargers without Philip Rivers and that’s due to the fact that he’s started 16 games for twelve straight seasons. Rivers has always put up huge passing numbers, including 4,515 yards last season. This season, Rivers has gotten off to a fast start as well with 680 yards through the air while completing 73.1% of his passes. Rivers also boasts a strong 6TD-1INT ratio.

CB Casey Hayward

The Chargers secondary benefits from one of the best cornebacks in the league. Hayward has a strong reputation for being a playmaker, evident with his 7 interceptions in 2016. This year to date, Hayward hasn’t forced a turnover yet but the Rams are hopeful that he will be extra busy while trying to cover WRs Robert Woods, Brandin Cooks and Cooper Kupp.

EDGE Melvin Ingram

Although EDGE Joey Bosa is out with injury, the Chargers still have pass-rushing stud Melvin Ingram. Ingram had 10.5 sacks in 2017 and is off to a strong start with 1.5 sacks in two games this season. OTs Rob Havenstein and Andrew Whitworth will likely block him the most. While Ingram is a strong pass rusher, he’s always been considered smaller in terms of stature. Look for the Rams to maybe run towards him in an effort to wear him down.