Game Scout, Week 17: Chargers vs. Redskins

The San Diego Chargers and Washington Redskins are both playing for the future -- it's just that the Chargers' future begins in the Divisional Round of this season's playoffs, while the Redskins' future starts again next season.

KICKOFF: Sunday, 4:15 p.m. ET
GAMEDATE: 1/03/10
TV: FOX (Ron Pitts, John Lynch)

PREDICTION: Redskins 17-14

KEYS TO THE GAME: Chargers coach Norv Turner hasn't tipped his hand, but is expected to at least begin the game with his regular starters to keep the team sharp heading into next week's bye. The Chargers could rest several banged up starters on defense, including OLBs Shawne Merriman and Shaun Phillips. That would be welcome news to Redskins QB Jason Campbell, who is taking a weekly pounding behind an injury-ravage offensive line. With no established running backs, Campbell will again seek to mount an offense based on a short passing attack.

FAST FACTS: Turner has a 34-18 record in three seasons with the Chargers, including playoffs; he was 50-60-1 in seven seasons coaching the Redskins. ... San Diego has won its past 18 games in December.



FS Eric Weddle
Donald Miralle/Getty
-- FS Eric Weddle (knee) didn't practice again Thursday and he could be rested Sunday. Weddle missed two games down the stretch with the knee and it became aggravated in last week's win.

-- OLB Shawne Merriman (foot) will likely skip playing Sunday. The Chargers have been reluctant to play him for many snaps even when he was playing - because of his sore foot.

-- RB Jacob Hester (shoulder) didn't practice for the second straight day Thursday. He could be a game-time decision for a game he was expected to play quite a bit.

-- WR Legedu Naanee (foot) didn't practice again Thursday. He likely needs to go on Friday to have a chance to play Sunday.

-- WR Vincent Jackson (foot) was a limited participant Thursday and will likely get a few series in on Sunday.

-- ILB Kevin Burnett (neck) continues to work and appears to be a go for Sunday.

--DL Travis Johnson (groin) worked and will play Sunday.

-- P Mike Scifres (groin) took all his kicks Thursdayand is fine.


--FS LaRon Landry missed practice for a second straight day because of a concussion suffered against the Cowboys. He's unlikely to play in Sunday's season finale at San Diego. Lendy Holmes will likely start in his place.

--DT Albert Haynesworth missed practice again because of a hip injury. Kedric Golston would start in his place on Sunday.

--WR Devin Thomas, inactive against Dallas after spraining his right ankle on Dec. 21 against the Giants, missed practice again on Thursday. Malcolm Kelly will likely make a second straight start in his place.

--LB Rocky McIntosh was limited again on Thursday with back spasms. If he can't play against the Chargers, H.B. Blades would likely get the start.

--WR Santana Moss took full practice on Thursday after being limited on Wednesday because of an ailing knee. He's expected to start against the Chargers.



The accolades for Mr. December keep rolling in for Philip Rivers.

Now, can he keep it going into January and beyond?

Rivers, fresh off being named to the Pro Bowl squad, was named the Chargers' most valuable player this week by his teammates.

Rivers is having a career year and finished another December - his fourth - undefeated.

QB Philip Rivers
Chris McGrath/Getty
Come Sunday against the Redskins, two things will change: the month and how long Rivers is likely to play.

With the Chargers having the AFC's No. 2 seed tucked away, there is no reason to subject Rivers to much hard work on Sunday against the Redskins.

That said, Rivers is punching the clock like it is any other week.

"I'm preparing to play four quarters," said Rivers, the AFC's top-rated passer. "I think any time you suit up, you want to go win the game."

But Rivers realizes Sunday will be as much about backup Billy Volek and other second-line players as the Chargers try and stay healthy for the playoffs.

"Whoever's in there, how long, and whoever it is in a Charger uniform, we're trying to go win the game and get to 13-3," Rivers said. "(We're trying to) get a week better and keep the rhythm and flow going as we head into the postseason."

Few are playing as well as Rivers, who has now won four AFC West titles in each of his seasons as a starter.

For starters, Rivers wants to continue his and the team's amazing run which always shows in the year's final month.

"Yeah, we take a great deal of pride in the fact that we have won 18 in a row in December," Rivers said. "We did it again this year, we went unblemished in December. I think that's had a lot to do - finishing strong in December - you give yourself a chance in the postseason, which we've done.

"Certainly now that we've done that we want to play even better ball in January. The goal is obvious. It'll be there for 12 teams. It starts this week. However long we're in there and whoever is playing for four quarters, we're trying to win a football game and get a week better.

"Then we get a little time to not only rest but to prepare for what we hope is going to be a great postseason."

Coach Norv Turner said he is meeting with his staff after Friday's practice to determine the starters' playing time.


Owner Dan Snyder and now deposed front office boss Vinny Cerrato thought so little of Jason Campbell that they tried to replace the quarterback twice before this season.

Jim Zorn, who almost certainly will coach the Redskins for the last time Sunday at San Diego, balked when asked if Campbell could be a franchise quarterback.

"A lot of people want to label every quarterback -- 'He has to be a franchise player,'" Zorn said. "I don't know if that's where he's at. I don't think it is. But he just continues to improve as a starting quarterback in this league."

But Campbell, whose five-year contract expires after the game against the Chargers, could still wind up back with the Redskins in 2010, largely because if the NFL and Players Association don't extend the collective bargaining agreement, he'll be a restricted free agent. That means suitors would have to give the Redskins a first-round pick for a 29-year-old quarterback with a 21-30 record, no playoff experience and a solid, but not spectacular, 81.8 career passer rating.

"Whatever happens is going to happen, and I'll be ready for any situation, whether it's here or someplace else," he said Wednesday. "My first and foremost thing is using the offseason to get healthy."

Campbell is one of just five players on Washington's offense to start every game, but he has taken a pounding: 41 sacks and 83 hits.

"I'm just pretty much sore all over," he said. "It's a lot of hits lately, but at the same time, I'm just trying to keep pushing forward and get through this last week."

And then move on to an uncertain future after starting 52 consecutive games, the longest streak by a Redskins quarterback since Mark Rypien's 1990-93 heyday, which included three straight playoff berths and a Super Bowl title.

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