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This is a great time of year to be thankful for what we have Michael Schofield Color Rush Jersey , where we have been, and what the future holds. Although the Chargers have lost their way a bit in recent years, the month of December still holds such incredible promise! This advent calendar is an attempt to hearken back to these days of December joy. Each day will bring a new advent from the Bolts’ history that makes it wonderful to be a Chargers fan.Dec. 08: 2018 appears to be Whisenhunt’s year!The Chargers offense has always some success with Philip Rivers under center. With the birthday boy heading into his 15th season with the franchise, Rivers has been consistent at making the Chargers look playable even in lost seasons. After being fired by the Tennessee Titans, Chargers offensive coordinator needed a fresh start...kind of. Following being let go by the Arizona Cardinals, the Georgia native headed out to San Diego under Mike McCoy to become the Bolt’s offensive coordinator. In 2013, Whisenhunt’s offense was dynamic, explosive and considered one of the best in the NFL. Ranking 4th in total offense, 4th in passing offense and 13th in rushing offense, the Whiz turned San Diego into a contender and helped bring them back to the postseason that season. Then he left for Tennessee Tyrell Williams Color Rush Jersey , the Chargers run offense struggled and the team has been stuck in a limbo of averageness since. Oh but how Santa Claus saw how nice of a person Whisenhunt was and threw him a bone. Entering his third year back with the organization, Whisenhunt’s magic has made the Chargers offense into one of the league’s best once again. Ranking 5th in total offense. 8th in passing offense and 11th in rushing offense, Whisenhut’s numbers actually are better than his successful 2013 campaign.The big kicker however is the ability to take veteran talent and turn it into MVP caliber status. Rivers is now 37 but playing stronger than he did back when he was 32. In 2013, the future Hall of Fame gunslinger threw for 32 touchdowns and just 11 interceptions. He’s on pace to throw for 37 touchdowns and eight interceptions this season. Austin Ekeler has seen his role grow similar to how Whinsenhunt used Danny Woodhead in 2013. A pass catcher first, Ekekler has collected three of his four total touchdowns through the air. Whienshunt has also done a fantastic job transforming young talent into rising stars early on in their careers. Before the injury, Hunter Henry looked to be the next great tight end in the NFL thanks to his route running and red zone threat. Following a terrible rookie season, Mike Williams have proven to be a quality secondary receiver in Whiz’s offense. Even Melvin Gordon has turned his career around and become one of the best feature backs in the league. With the news of Whisenhunt electing to stay in Los Angeles rather than head back home to coach Georgia Tech, it proves he’s invested in the team that has been nothing short of finding success under him. This holiday season, don’t be a grinch and look at the terrible moments the Chargers have seen a points this season. Be cheery and joyful that thanks the Whisenhunt, Los Angeles could ready to make a trip down to Atlanta come February. If you guys haven’t found the twitter account for ESPN’s NFL Matchup Derek Watt Color Rush Jersey , I would highly advise you to do it as soon as possible. They focus on analytics and paint a advanced metrics through a simple medium to educate fans on the teams who are doing the best or worst in a plethora of different categories.As the Chargers prepare for a trip to the frozen tundra of Heinz Field, arguably their toughest task of the season, I dove into a handful of these categories to really paint a clearer of how this matchup will unfold.We all know the tale of the tape. Both teams are considered powerhouses in the AFC and boast two of the best record in the conference. The Chargers sit at 8-3 while the Steelers are just behind them at 7-3-1. Both teams had (sad face emoji) a pro bowl-caliber running back, dynamic wide receiver groups, and a quarterback from the vaunted 2004 draft class. Both usually have high expectations for each season and this is the first year in awhile that all the expectations of come to fruition.In such a big game, fans of each team are likely clamoring to find where their team could gain advantage over the other. This is where the work of NFL Matchup comes in. From here on out, using recent posts from their page, I’ll be shedding some light on where the Chargers should look to exploit the Steelers while retaining some caution on where the Bolts will likely to need focus in order to avoid being the ones getting exploited.Spread Out The Steelers’ Defense When running their Base defense, the Steelers are tied with the Buffalo Bills in allowing 4.5 yards per play when in this formation, good for third best in the league. Base formations are usually used to defend formations such as 21 (two backs Travis Benjamin Color Rush Jersey , one tight ends) and 22 personnel (two backs, two tight ends). Without Melvin Gordon, i’d expect the Chargers to be a little more spread out than usual. Although Austin Ekeler is capable of running between the tackles, the team has never shown a propensity to force him into that situation. I believe keeping the Steelers out of their best defensive packages will bode well towards a victory.Chargers’ Best Defensive Package Coincides With Steelers’ Offensive TendenciesThe Steelers run a lot of plays out of 11 personnel (1 back, one tight end). This maximizes the amount of capable pass-catchers for Big Ben and, in turn, potentially open up running lanes for James Connor on the ground.Unfortunately for Pitt, the Chargers spend the majority of their defensive snaps in nickel (five defensive backs) and dime packages (six DBs) in order to get their best and most athletic players on the field. Slot cornerback Desmond King leads the team in interceptions while being one of the most sure-handed tacklers on the entire team. In order for him to see the field, the Chargers must stay in the nickel.Both Teams Thrive After The CatchSo far this season, both the Chargers and Steelers have been among the best at accumulating yards after the catch. They join the Miami Dolphins Keenan Allen Color Rush Jersey , all tied at third-best, with an average of 6.5 yards after the catch.However, the story is a little different when it comes to total yards after the catch. The Steelers currently have three players among the top-20. James Connor actually leads the team in the category with 518 yards which is good for fifth in the NFL.Second on the team and eighth in the NFL is Juju Smith-Schuster with 465. Juju is followed by Antonio Brown who stands at 412 yards.The only member of the Chargers in the top-20 is Melvin Gordon (I know, no Tyrell) who is currently just behind Connor for sixth in the league with 492 yards.Both Teams Can Explode At Any TimeThe Chargers hold a sizable edge over the Steelers when it comes to “explosive” plays as they lead the league with 78. The Steelers are tied with the Bengals and Panthers with 58, good for ninth in the league.The Chargers currently have two wide receivers in the top-20 of average yards per catch. Tyrell Williams is currently fourth with an 18.54 average while Mike Williams stands at seventh with 17.46 per catch.The Steelers, on the other hand, don’t have a single player on the list. But if he change the category to players with “big catches”, which are considered receptions of 25 yards or more, the Chargers all of a sudden have no one within the top-20 while the Steelers have two. Brown is tied for fifth with 10 big catches while Smith-Schuster is tied at 14th with eight.Quarterback Play In Red Zone Will Be ParamountEven though Rivers and Big Ben have each done a phenomenal job at keeping their offenses moving up and down the field, their individual play while in the red zone is vastly different and could be the deciding factor in this matchup.Rivers is ninth in the NFL with a 105.0 passer rating while operating from inside the 20-yard line. Roethlisberger currently has the third-worst rating in the league with a 71.4.Among qualifying quarterbacks LaDainian Tomlinson Color Rush Jersey , #7 also leads the NFL in red zone interceptions with four while only one other quarterback has at least three. Rivers is tied with a ton other passers with just a single pick.Seeing how the Steelers have gone away from riding their workhorse running back into the ground, this seems like a stat that the coaching staff needs to exploit as much as possible. The Chargers have been known for their bend-but-don’t-break defense that allows a fair amount of yards between the 20’s but still maintains the mantle of the league’s third-best red zone defense.If the Steelers are going to shy away from running Connor from within the 10, the Chargers should look to bring the heat on Roethlisberger when it matters most. So I hope this vast amount of information helped paint a better picture of what to expect when the Chargers head East to Heinz Field this coming Sunday. I fully expect to see the yardage totals rise and rise throughout the evening but, in the end, I believe it will be the team who manages to make the least amount of mistakes, especially in the most crucial of moments.It also wouldn’t help to get the old December Rivers back after a couple recent years in hiatus.
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