2. Justin Herbert throws two or fewer touchdowns.
Looking like the NFL’s next rising star, Justin Herbert has proven time and time again that he is in fact the “real deal”.
While he’s shown the ability to produce against any and all opponents, he’s about to face the best pass defense of his career in the Washington Football Team.
Ranking third in both dropback EPA and dropback success rate, in addition to ranking second in pass DVOA, the Football Team’s defense is the best defense that Herbert has faced up to this point in his career.
Though he’s played very well against teams who rank highly in these statistics, he hasn’t played a defense that is this well-rounded as a pass defense, from a statistical standpoint to their pass rush and versatility within their scheme.
This isn’t to say that Washington utterly shuts down Herbert, as they gave up the 4th most 40+ yard passing plays back in 2020, but the Football Team likely keeps the Chargers aerial attack in check.
For a Chargers offense that is manned by a Quarterback who ranked 24th in big-time throw percentage, Los Angeles likely will not be looking for the long ball all night long.
With Washington adding guys like William Jackson III, Benjamin St. Juste on the perimeter in addition to the return of a fringe Pro-Bowl talent in Matt Ioaniddis into their IDL rotation, the Football Team has strengthened their strength. The miscommunications they had last year as a coverage unit should be suppressed to an extent, after adding instinctive players in coverage like the two corners mentioned as well as Bobby McCain, Jamin Davis, and others.
Which folds into the equation, Justin Herbert will not throw more than two touchdowns on Sunday afternoon. Last season, after injuries, porous quarterback play, and an entirely new scheme, Washington gave up the second-fewest passing touchdowns in the NFL.
Giving up an average of 1.3 passing touchdowns per game, allowing a passer rating of 81.4, an already elite unit was made even better this offseason
So while Herbert is a great player, this is one of the worst matchups for this Chargers offense, on paper. His greatness is why you can imagine he could throw for two touchdowns, as in 15 starts last season, Justin Herbert threw two or more touchdowns in ten of those games.
But this won’t be the party in the endzone like we saw against Tampa Bay or New Orleans. As long as Washington can stay out of their own way, this should be far from a walk in the park for Justin Herbert.