Here are three things to keep an eye on during the game.
1. Bring the noise: With the Seahawks taking the home field for the first time since winning the Super Bowl, expect the 12th man to be energized at the opening stages of the game. I’m interested to see if the Chargers can match Seattle’s intensity level at the start of the game in that environment. It will be important for the starters to show that they can compete on the same level as the defending Super Bowl champions. Once the starters leave the field, I want to see how the second and third-units for San Diego compete against Seattle’s reserves. The Seahawks have one of the deepest rosters in the NFL, so it should be a good opportunity for San Diego head coach Mike McCoy and general manager Tom Telesco to evaluate the back end of the roster.
2. Play physical up front: One of the reasons for Seattle’s success last season was its ability to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. So I will be closely watching the battle in the trenches. Specifically, I want to see how Chris Watt and Johnnie Troutman, both up for the starting right guard job, compete against Seattle defensive tackles Brandon Mebane, Tony McDaniel, Pat Williams and Michael Bennett. Troutman struggled against Bennett in the preseason game against Seattle last season. And I defensively want to see how San Diego handles Seattle’s run game. The Chargers struggled at times defending the run against Dallas in the exhibition opener and needs to improve in that area.
3. Disarming the Legion of Boom: Lastly, I’m really interested to see how San Diego’s no-huddle offense, led by Philip Rivers, executes against Seattle’s physical defense, led by the Legion of Boom secondary. The Chargers have a talented group of playmakers led by Keenan Allen, Antonio Gates and Ryan Mathews, so it will be fun to watch how Rivers goes about attacking guys like Richard Sherman, Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas. One area of focus for Rivers could be the middle of the field and Danny Woodhead. Seattle, at times, struggled defending the pass at the second level defensively. One thing is certain -- Rivers will have to get the ball out quick and lean on the run game to slow down Seattle’s pass rush.