1. The Chargers have to pressure the QB – That means they must send Shuan Phillips and Shawne Merriman at the same time and a lot. Pressure has been a huge part of their success against the Peyton Manning led Colts. Earlier this year they got to the QB and won the game and if you go way back to a few seasons ago when the Bolts went into Indy and snapped their undefeated season, the key to that game was pressuring Manning.
2. They have to stop the run – San Diego’s run defense did not look very sharp against the Titans. Jamal Williams is going to have to do a better job of plugging up the middle and not getting pushed back. It could be even tougher to stop the run this week because San Diego will be more geared towards pass rushing from the outside and when you have your outside guys flying up field to get to the QB if the NT doesn’t plug up the middle well then there is a perfect storm for a long run.
3. The DB’s must win in single coverage – This is because San Diego is going to have to apply pressure and there won’t be many LB’s dropping into pass coverage. Trying to cover an Indianapolis wide-receiver without deep help is like playing with fire though, and eventually they are going to get burned. So Ted Cottrell (defensive coordinator) must do a great job of “out-thinking” Peyton Manning, which isn’t an easy thing to do given Manning’s oversized dome. They must change up their play calls and keep Manning guessing. The best way to keep Manning guessing is to disguise their coverage and blitz calls before the ball is snapped. Manning loves to find the weak spot in a defensive alignment then audible and exploit it. The San Diego defenders have to move around before the snap to disguise their play.
4. San Diego needs to run the ball – LaDainian Tomlinson needs to have a big day and if he isn’t having success on the ground Norv turner cant hesitate to put Michael Turner in the ball game to gain some tough yards up the middle. There is no doubt Turner is a better back after contact; he always finds a way to fall forward and drag a tacklers a few yards. Success on the ground is contingent upon their success through the air. If Philip Rivers is not playing well and isn’t able to complete the ball down the field like he did last week, it’s going to be a long day for LT as Bob Sanders will be closer and closer to the line of scrimmage. More so than anything, they need to have success both running and passing the football because they are so dependent on each other.
5. Darren Sproles – In their regular season win over the Colts, Sproles had 2 touchdown returns. The Chargers are going to need some big play help and Indy’s kick coverage teams aren’t great. So this is the one area where San Diego comes into the game with an edge and they need to take advantage of it on Suinday.