Injuries have taken a toll on plenty of NFL teams during the first two weeks of training camp, and the Seattle Seahawks and San Diego Chargers are not different.
As they prep to kick start the preseason at Qualcomm Stadium on Thursday night, each will try to fill a No. 1 wide receiver spot vacated by injuries to Percy Harvin and Danario Alexander.
According to a report from the Post-Intelligencer, Seattle knew about concerns regarding Harvin’s hips, as did much of the league when the versatile player came out of Florida for the 2009 draft. He’s currently recovering from hip surgery, with a long rehab assignment ahead of him.
The Seahawks took the risk and traded for Harvin while signing him to a lucrative extension, hoping to give breakout quarterback Russell Wilson a top target heading into his second season. Wilson is the main reason Seattle reached the playoffs last year, upseting the Washington Redskins in the Wild Card round, and nearly toppled Atlanta for a shot at the NFC title game.
Starting off slow last year, Wilson eventually led the Seahawks on a 7-1 tear in the second half of the season, completing 70-plus percent of his passes three times, and 60-plus percent four times in that stretch.
Golden Tate and Sidney Rice have been mainstays in Seattle, but there is room for Chris Harper, Bryan Walters, and Brett Swain to develop into viable threats for Wilson.
At 31 and coming off back-to-back so-so seasons, Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers saw his top threat go down in Alexander, who suffered a season-ending ACL tear last week in training camp. However that might have opened up an avenue for potential third round steal Keenan Allen, who had 61 receptions for 737 yards and six scores at Cal last season.
The Chargers are trying to climb back into the AFC West race, and must find a way to dethrone Denver and Peyton Manning.
Thursday’s matchup is also the debut of much-humiliated linebacker Manti Te’o, the "catfished" Heisman Trophy candidate out of Notre Dame that nearly led the Irish to the national title eight months ago. He received plenty of flak for his fake-Internet-girlfriend scandal, but reports from OTAs and training camp suggest the 6-foot-1 241-pounder has adjusted as best a rookie can to the speed and complexity of the NFL. Te’o is already working with the first team according to UT-San Diego.
The game kicks-off at 10 p.m. ET and a live online stream is available by subscription on the NFL’s official site here.
For fans of both teams, the game will be broadcast by NFL Network.
Betting Odds: Seattle is favored by 2.5 points
Over/Under: 35.5 points
Prediction: Seattle 25, San Diego 10