Sporting an injury report littered with his offensive linemen, quarterback Philip Rivers leads the San Diego Chargers against the undefeated Green Bay Packers and their second-ranked pass rush in Sunday’s Week 6 matchup at Lambeau Field.
Specifically the 2-3 Chargers will be quite weak on Rivers’ blind side while staring down a 5-0 Packers frontline that’s generated 20 sacks through the first five games of the season. Tackle King Dunlap (concussion) was ruled out for the third straight game, while guard Orlando Franklin (ankle) is questionable and may also miss his third straight after practicing on a limited basis this week.
Starting center Chris Watt (groin, concussion) is also out for a second week, with fourth-year lineman Trevor Robinson getting his second start in as many games.
San Diego and Rivers could also miss Dunlap and Franklin’s immediate relief, tackle Chris Hairston (ankle), who’s listed as questionable, and right guard D.J. Fluker (ankle) is questionable for the fifth straight week.
As a result of the peril plaguing his line, Rivers has taken 14 sacks this season, tied for fifth-highest in the NFL, but he’s still one of the most accurate passers in the game. He’s completed 71.3 percent of his attempts for 1,613 yards and 10 touchdowns to five interceptions.
But Rivers might not see the same kind of pressure Green Bay’s opponents have been privy to this season. Defensive tackle B.J. Raji (groin) and linebacker Nick Perry (shoulder, hand) are each listed as doubtful after going down in the Packers 24-10 victory over St. Louis in Week 5.
Green Bay still has linebackers Clay Matthews and Julius Peppers to attack the Chargers frontline and potentially wreak havoc on Rivers’ pocket, with each recording 4.5 sacks this season, but without Raji to open up lanes that could prove difficult.
The Packers and quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ line also dealt with injuries to start the season, but it received a major boost when tackle Bryan Bulaga returned to the lineup against St. Louis. He missed the first four games of the season while recovering from a knee injury, but because of Rodgers' elusiveness Green Bay has only allowed eight sacks all year.
Getting to Rodgers may be out of the question for the Chargers, but its secondary could give him headaches all day. San Diego’s pass rush has largely underperformed this season, forcing a total of eight sacks, but it has fielded one of the league’s top defensive backfields with safety Eric Weddle running the show. The Chargers are allowing 219 passing yards a game, No. 9 in the NFL, and have picked up four interceptions.
Rodgers, who’s tied for the league-lead with 13 touchdowns passes, looked human last week when he tossed his first two interceptions of the year and snapped his streak without an interception at home.
Still, the Chargers defense may struggle against a Green Bay attack averaging 27.4 points per game, especially with second-leading tackler and linebacker Manti Te’o listed as questionable. The third-year Te’o suffered an ankle injury and didn’t participate in practice all this week. He’s recorded 40 total tackles with four run stuffs in five games this season.
Kick-off: Sunday, 4:25 p.m. ET
TV Channel: CBS
Live Online: NFL Game Pass