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Need to Know: Chargers’ Rivers is having a career year

Oct 30, 2013, 5:34 AM EDT

Philip-Rivers-vs-Colts

Here is what you need to know on this Wednesday, October 30, four days before the Washington Redskins host the San Diego Chargers.

Nickel coverage

Five things you need to know about the Redskins’ matchup with the Chargers:

1. As noted here yesterday, the Chargers are last in the NFL with just four takeaways. Just like DeAngelo Hall, San Diego has three interceptions and a fumble recovery. Some of this just has to be bad luck. Over the course of a season, about half of fumbles will be recovered by the fumbling team, half by the other team. The Chargers’ opponents have fumbled seven times and the odds are that they should have recovered three or four of them. Redskins fans should hope that the Chargers’ luck doesn’t start to turn on Sunday.

2. West coast teams are notorious for traveling and struggling during games that start at 1:00 in the Eastern Time zone (10 a.m. according to the players’ body clocks). But two of the Chargers’ four wins have come in the east. They beat the Eagles in Philly in Week 2 and then flew back in Week 7 and beat the Jaguars.

3. Philip Rivers is having quite the career renaissance under new head coach Mike McCoy. Rivers is leading the league with an astounding completion percentage of 73.9. That’s nearly 10 points higher than his career percentage of 64.3. If that percentage holds, or even if it drops two points, Rivers would break Drew Brees single season record of 71.2 percent completions. He is averaging 8.7 yards per pass attempt, a considerable improvement on his career average of 7.9

4. Wide receiver Eddie Royal, a Virginia Tech product who nearly signed with the Redskins in 2012, leads the Chargers in receiving touchdowns with six. But he only has one in San Diego’s last five games. He caught two in the season opener against the Texans and then three more the next week in Philadelphia. Then he went scoreless for four games before grabbing a 27-yard TD pass from Rivers against the Jaguars in his last game.

5. The Chargers don’t have anyone in particular who scares you on defense. They are tied with the Redskins for 20th in the NFL with 10 sacks but nobody has more than three. As noted, they don’t take the ball away much. But they do manage to keep teams out of the end zone as they are allowing 20.6 points per game, ninth best in the NFL.

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Stat of the day

—The Redskins have committed 15 turnovers this year through seven games. Last year in 16 games they committed only 14 turnovers.

Timeline

—Days until: Chargers @ Redskins 4; Redskins @ Vikings 8; Redskins @ Eagles 18

—Today’s schedule: Player availability 11:15; Practice 1:00; Robert Griffin III and Mike Shanahan news conferences after practice (approx. 3:00; streamed live on CSNwashington.com)       

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