The Chargers are alive, baby!
Okay, so they etched out a win by a single point thanks to Jon Condo – a 2x Pro Bowler and normally perfect LS – botching a simple PAT snap and allowing the Chargers to drive down the field and kick the gamewinner, but who cares about the semantics? They went into the house of a divisional rival and were able to grind out a win, which is something the Chargers have really struggled with in recent years. Not this time.
By no means was this a perfect game. The run defense still struggled, and the offense were able to put up just 17 points, despite the defense forcing multiple turnovers. But in the end, the Chargers did enough to get the win. That’s a sentence we haven’t been able to say much around here lately, so embrace it. The Chargers did enough.
That’s not to say it was a forgone conclusion.
Quick, name the quarterback with the highest salary cap hit in the NFL in 2017? I imagine most people don’t know that Joe Flacco, with a $24.6 million cap hit is the most expensive player in this season’s NFL. Have you checked out Flacco’s numbers lately? Yeah, they’re not good:
QBR = 30 (50 is average)
Passer rating = 66 (average is around 94)
Adjusted net yards per attempt = 3.3 (league average is 6.1)
4 touchdowns versus 8 interceptions
In short, Baltimore is paying top-shelf price for rotgut performance. And they’re not alone. The top five quarterbacks in terms of salary rank 19th (C. Palmer), 5th (K. Cousins), 10th (M. Ryan) and 8th (A. Rodgers) in QBR for the season.
And what are the salary cap hits for the players ranked 1-2-3 in QBR? A combined $9.2 is being spent on Deshaun Watson, Rayne Dakota Prescott and Carson Wentz.
The New Orleans Saints are finally fielding a competitive defense, so draft analysts around the world are now turning their eyes towards Saints head coach Sean Payton’s offense. Drew Brees is still the future Hall of Fame quarterback he’s always been, but there’s no denying the Saints have had issues with the ball in their hands.
Stats the Saints usually dominate – and which usually mean victories – like third-down conversion rate and red zone scoring percentage are instead falling flat. That’s probably due to the delayed debuts of elite left tackle Terron Armstead and clutch slot receiver Willie Snead IV, but it’s still garnering a reaction in 2018 mock drafts.
Luke Easterling of the Draft Wire (USA Today’s site for year-round NFL Draft coverage) dialed in on that team weakness acutely.
Both the Raiders and Chiefs will be without starting offensive linemen when they face off Thursday night. The Chiefs are without right guard Laurent Devernay-Tardif and center Mitch Morse. The Raiders will be without right tackle Marshall Newhouse.
Newhouse has started every game at right tackle for the Raiders this season, his first in a Raiders’ uniform. He will be replaced by Vadal Alexander.
Alexander was the team’s 7th round pick last season. He stepped in for one series in the opener, giving up one sack and one pressure that led to a sack. So, Newhouse’s absence could prove significant, especially going against the likes of former All Pro pass rusher Justin Houston who already has 5.5 sacks this season.
Also out for the Raiders once again is rookie cornerback Gareon Conley. The team’s top pick has appeared in just two games this season.