Game Scout, Week 10: Chargers vs. Eagles

The San Diego Chargers look to run their winning streak to four as they host the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. Get set for this contest with injury updates, keys to the game, predictions and more.

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 ET
GAMEDATE: 11/15/09
SURFACE: Grass
TV: FOX (Thom Brennaman, Brian Billick, Charisa Thompson)

PREDICTION: Chargers 28-23

KEYS TO THE GAME: This was a bad week for the Eagles to lose nickel and dime CBs Joselio Hanson and Ellis Hobbs while preparing for San Diego and QB Philip Rivers' vertical passing attack. Philadelphia is going to have to counter with a strong and consistent pass rush to protect its secondary. RB Brian Westbrook is expected to return to the Eagles offense and share the workload with rookie LeSean McCoy. Philadelphia also needs more consistency from QB Donovan McNabb. If the Chargers bracket WR DeSean Jackson like Dallas did, rookie Jeremy Maclin will have to step up on the opposite side.

Need to know: The Eagles are 1-8-1 in their past 10 games decided by single digits. ... Rivers has engineered 11 career fourth-quarter comeback victories.

INSIDE THE CAMPS


QB Michael Vick
Matt Slocum/AP
Chargers: Michael Vick's numbers don't quite match his reputation.

But when the Chargers face the Eagles on Sunday, they won't let Vick sneak up on them.

In fact, every time the versatile Vick hits the field some Chargers defender will sound the alarm.

"We'll be calling 'cowbell' for him," linebacker Shaun Phillips said. "That means sound the alarm, because there's a playmaker on the field."

Vick, though, isn't seeing the field that much. He has 12 rushes for 27 yards and has thrown only six passes, with two completions, for 6 yards.

Is that really "cowbell" worthy?

"They're just using him sporadically right now, trying to put him in position where he can break off a big run," Phillips added. "He hasn't been able to do much thus far, but you never know."

Those thinking Vick doesn't still have his giddy-up won't convince coach Norv Turner.

"The people that say he doesn't look as fast aren't the guys getting ready to play him that week," Turner said.

Just maybe, Vick's biggest impact is leading up to the game. Despite his low numbers, Turner said the team must devote practice time to an offense featuring Vick.

"It does present problems in terms of us in our preparation -- we have to prepare for it," he said. "And they try to create problems for your defense by spreading you out. It helps get their playmakers in space."

Phillips said Vick's resume is such that the Chargers can't go to sleep on him.

"He's an explosive guy who's done it before, so we can imagine him doing it again," he said. "If he comes into the game, we'll definitely echo that he's in the game."

Eagles: The Eagles will be facing the San Diego Chargers' explosive offense Sunday with a depleted defense.

Two of their top four cornerbacks -- Joselio Hanson and Ellis Hobbs -- won't be available, and they also probably will be without weak-side linebacker Akeem Jordan.

Hanson, the team's valuable nickel corner, was suspended for four games Wednesday for violating the league's drug policy on performance-enhancing drugs. Hanson tested positive for a banned diuretic after last year's NFC Championship Game.

Hobbs, the team's No. 4 corner who rotates on the outside with starters Asante Samuel and Sheldon Brown, was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with a neck injury.

Jordan suffered a hyperextended knee in Sunday's 20-16 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. He hasn't practiced either of the last two days.

Dimitri Patterson, who has played in just three games this season, will replace Hanson as the slot corner.

As for Jordan, defensive coordinator Sean McDermott said Thursday that his replacement "could be any of two or three guys" depending on the personnel group they have on the field.

In their base defense, McDermott is expected to slide middle linebacker Will Witherspoon over to Jordan's weak-side spot. Strong-side linebacker Chris Gocong, who missed last week's game with a hamstring injury, would move into the middle. Either rookie Moise Fokou or second-year man Joe Mays would replace Gocong at SAM.

"It's certainly a challenge, but it's a challenge that we look forward to," McDermott said of facing the Chargers with so many key players missing. "It's a challenge that we will expect to rise above. And whoever we put on that field will be expected to execute and play at a high level."

PERSONNEL NEWS

Chargers:

--RB LaDainian Tomlinson (hip) worked Thursday and is fine for Sunday.


LB Shawne Merriman
Stephen Dunn/Getty
--OLB Shawne Merriman (foot) didn't practice Thursday, but he did on Wednesday, and is expected to play this week.

--C Nick Hardwick (ankle) didn't practice and is down another week.

--DL Travis Johnson (groin) practiced and will play Sunday as part of the interior rotation.

--DT Ogemdi Nwagubo (ankle) didn't work. He will be a game-day decision.

--TE Antonio Gates (foot) returned to practice and will play Sunday.

--OLB Shaun Phillips (ankle) sat out another practice but he will play Sunday.

--OLB Jyles Tucker (ankle) didn't practice Thursday and will miss Sunday.

--ILB Tim Dobbins (knee) was limited and is likely out.

--ILB Kevin Burnett (knee) went through practice and is on track to return after missing three games.

--P Mike Scifres (groin) practiced for the second straight day and is expected to play Sunday.

Eagles:

--DE Victor Abiamiri, who has missed the last three games with a knee sprain, was a full participant in practice Thursday and is expected to play Sunday against the Chargers.

--LB Chris Gocong, who missed last week's game with quad and hamstring injuries, practiced for the second straight day Thursday and is expected to play Sunday. He may move from SLB to MLB if WLB Akeem Jordan is unable to play.

--S Quintin Demps did not practice Thursday because of an ankle injury. With Ellis Hobbs on injured reserve with a neck injury, Demps will be the team's primary kickoff returner Sunday if he is able to play.

--LB Will Witherspoon, who has started the last three games at MLB since the Eagles acquired him in a trade, may move to the weak side Sunday if Akeem Jordan (knee) can't play. SLB Chris Gocong would replace Witherspoon in the middle.

--WR Kevin Curtis returned to Philadelphia this week to continue rehab of his surgically repaired knee. He didn't practice this week and has been declared out of Sunday's game.


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