Philip Rivers probably wants to forget about last season where the Chargers finished the season with only four wins. San Diego might be improved this season, but does that mean that Rivers is going to be throwing any less? The answer is, probably not.
Rivers’ Passing Offense
The Chargers fell behind a lot last season thanks to their defense and Rivers was forced to throw the ball all over the field pretty much the entire game. However, the Chargers’ defense wasn’t the only problem or even the main problem. San Diego ranked 21st last season with their opponents averaging about 25 points per game, but their running game was almost just as big of a problem.
After drafting Melvin Gordon 15th overall in the 2015 draft, the Chargers’ running game looked poised for a solid season. However, the Chargers ended last season as the second worst rushing team in the NFL. Gordon was underwhelming and then required microfracture surgery this offseason. The Chargers’ best running back was Danny Woodhead who ended up just becoming a receiver with 80 catches. No Chargers back with at least 50 carries averaged better than 3.9 yards per carry.
However, the Chargers have the same running game heading into the 2016 season. Gordon looks like a player ready to improve on his disappointing rookie season and the combination of Woodhead, Branden Oliver, and Donald Brown should - in theory – be serviceable.
When it comes to Rivers, it really boils down to whether or not the running game and defense are going to be good enough to get Rivers’ pass attempts significantly lower than last season. He had 4792 passing yards on a career-high 661 attempts in 2015. If he is at that level again this season, you can bet that Rivers is easily going to cash the over on his passing yards total of 4425.5 yards set by NFL Odds.
Assuming that Joey Bosa signs and ends his holdout relatively soon, the Chargers are going to have a much-improved pass rush this season. Bosa will go along with Corey Liuget and newly signed Brandon Mebane to make for a nice defensive front seven, so while I still don’t expect the Chargers to be greatly improved, they could finish in the top half of the league in points allowed. If they are creating turnovers, though, that is just more time for Rivers to throw the ball.
Keenan Allen is another big variable for Rivers. If he is healthy he could have 120 catches this season, which would be a huge boost for this passing game. Rivers can throw the ball with anyone on the field, but on third down with Woodhead in the backfield and Allen, Antonio Gates and a potentially healthy Stevie Johnson, (who did just injure his knee, so this may be a longer shot that thought a day ago) the Chargers’ passing game has a ton of options.
As long as Rivers can stay upright this season I see him getting the over on this prop. He was sacked 40 times last season, but if that number can be improved upon Rivers is set to have another big season of more than 4500 passing yards making over my NFL pick.
Free NFL Pick: Over 4425.5 (-120)
Best Line Offered: at Bet365