Cardinals host Chargers in Late Monday Night Game

Last season the NFL’s Comeback Player of the Year, Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers reached the playoffs. Rivers now wants to take his teammates another step further.

Last season, the Arizona Cardinals just missed out on reaching the playoffs and their motivation is high entering the 2014 NFL season.

The two meet tonight in Arizona for what should be an exciting Monday Night Football matchup.

San Diego had one of the best offenses in the NFL last season and is nearly intact starting this year.

The same cannot be said for Arizona. Andre Ellington this season’s featured back in the running game hurt his foot and his status is unknown, while three of their top defensive players have been lost for the season.

San Diego started its season 5-7 before winning 4 straight to reach the playoffs. They defeated Cincinnati in the wildcard round, only to lose to Denver by 7 points in the divisional round.

Rivers had a completion percentage of 69.5% last season with 4,478 yards plus 32 touchdown passes. The San Diego offense was No. 5 in yards per game with 393.

Ryan Mathews ran for 1,255 yards on the ground, while Danny Woodhead had 76 receptions out of the backfield for the Chargers.

Keenan Allen caught 71 passes as a rookie last year and Antonio Gates returns for his 12th season at tight end.

On defense, the Chargers are much weaker finishing No. 23 last season in total defense.

However, Dwight Freeney returns after missing 12 games last season and Brandon Flowers a cornerback has been added.

Arizona won 10 games in 2013. It is only the second time in the past 26 years the Cardinals have finished with double-digit wins.

However, Arizona did not reach the postseason thanks to a strong NFC West. At home, the Cardinals were 6-2 allowing less than 18 points a game.

Carson Palmer had 4,272 passing years with 24 touchdown passes last season. His passing yards were a career best.

Palmer’s targets are Michael Floyd and Larry Fitzgerald the All-Pro wide receiver. John Brown chose in the third round of the draft is expected to add to the Cardinals receiving corps, along with Ted Ginn Jr. an acquisition in free agency.

Andre Ellington is expected to carry the load of the running game, but on Thursday, he was hurt during practice and rumors about his status range from out for several games to starting Monday night.

Defense was the Cardinals strong point, but they lost Darnell Docket to a season ending knee injury, Karlos Dansby to free agency and Daryl Washington to suspension.

The last time the two teams played head to head was in 2010 with San Diego winning at home 41-10. The Chargers have won the last three head-to-head meetings.

All time, Arizona is just 3-9 versus the Chargers.

With the Arizona defense banged up and the possibility Ellington will not play, I like the strong offense of the Chargers to take control of this game and come out victorious.

 

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