TALE OF THE TAPE

Tale Of The Tape: San Diego Chargers At Arizona Cardinals

San Diego Chargers
Arizona Cardinals
San Diego Chargers v San Francisco 49ers
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Quarterback
Winner Philip Rivers went into the 2013 season with questions about his performance hanging over his head, but he answered those questions with ease last year as he enjoyed a brilliant year. Rivers and Chargers head coach Mike McCoy developed an excellent rapport, and that manifested itself in Rivers’ performance. He completed 69.5 percent of his passes with a 32-11 TD-interception ratio last year.
The acquisition of Carson Palmer has proven to be an excellent move for the Cardinals. He has given them steady production at the quarterback position, and that has increased the overall confidence of the team. Palmer threw for a career-high 4,274 yards and completed 63.3 percent of his passes last year while throwing 24 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.
Offense
Winner There is a quiet confidence surrounding the Chargers this season because McCoy knows he has a well-rounded offensive team ready to attack this year. Ryan Mathews is a relatively unheralded running back who gained 1,255 yards last year. Keenan Allen is a solid receiver and he has a chance to develop into a star after catching 71-1,046-8 last year. Antonio Gates remains a solid tight end.
The Cardinals go into the season with Andre Ellington as their starting running back. He gained 652 yards last year and he is merely an average player. The Cardinals want to attack downfield with wideouts Larry Fitzgerald and Malcolm Floyd. Fitzgerald caught 82-954-10 and is a superb technician who can get open when the game is on the line.
Defense
The Chargers are a work in progress on defense after struggling in 2013 with the 30th-ranked pass defense in the league. If the Chargers are going to improve in this area, they need to get more production from their pass rush. Defensive end Cory Liuget had 5.5. sacks last year, and needs to build off that figure. Free safety Eric Weddle is a big hitter who had 115 tackles last year.
Winner The Cardinals had a sensational defensive season in 2013, and that figures to be the strength of the team once again. Even though Darnell Dockett is out for the season and Daryl Washington is suspended, the presence of defensive end Calais Campbell and cornerback Patrick Peterson should make the defense quite formidable. Tyrann Mathieu should be ready to have a huge year at free safety.
Special Teams
Winner The Chargers have had a solid kicking game for several seasons, and that is not likely to change this year. Placekicker Nick Novak made 34-of-37 FG attempts last year, and he gives the Chargers a chance to score anytime they get inside the opponents’ 40. Punter Mike Scifres is a solid directional kicker.
The Cardinals have done well with Jay Feely at the placekicker position, but they decided to get rid of their veteran kicker and replace him with rookie Chandler Catanzaro. Dave Zastudil is an excellent directional punter who put 35 of his kicks inside the opponents’ 20 last year.

The Winner Is

San Diego Chargers v San Francisco 49ers
Winner San Diego Chargers
3 out of 4

The Chargers appear to be one of the more overlooked teams in the league, but they have an excellent quarterback and a balanced offense. While they have a difficult road assignment, that should be enough to get them through this.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports

MORE TALES OF THE TAPE

  1. OAKLAND, CA - SEPTEMBER 18:  Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons signals to his team during their NFL game against the Oakland Raiders at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum on September 18, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 18:  Quarterback  Drew Brees #9 of the New Orleans Saints hands off to Mark Ingram #22 during the first quarter against the New York Giants at MetLife Stadium on September 18, 2016 in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
    Week 3 Tale Of The Tape: Atlanta Falcons At New Orleans Saints

    The NFC South rivals meet in the Big Easy with Brees and company looking for their first win.

  2. CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19: Danny Trevathan #59 and Akiem Hicks #96 of the Chicago Bears
stop Ryan Mathews #24 of the Philadelphia Eagles
at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois. The Eagels defeated the Bears 29-14. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
    Week 3 Tale Of The Tape: Chicago Bears At Dallas Cowboys

    The Cowboys rookies have looked good the first two weeks, now they get the winless and injury plagued Bears at home.

  3. PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 18: Xavier Grimble #85 of the Pittsburgh Steelers celebrates his touchdown with Ben Roethlisberger #7 in the first quarter during the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Heinz Field on September 18, 2016 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 19:  Quarterback Carson Wentz #11 of the Philadelphia Eagles hands off the football to Ryan Mathews #24 in the first half against the Chicago Bears at Soldier Field on September 19, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
    Week 3 Tale Of The Tape: Pittsburgh Steelers At Philadelphia Eagles

    The two Pennsylvania teams have gotten off to 2-0 starts. Who will win the battle for interstate bragging rights?

See All Tales of the Tape

More From CBS Sacramento

Sign-Up Now For Our 2016 Knockout Pool
Tickets to aftershock now on sale
Follow Us On Facebook

Listen Live