The Chargers rode a four-game winning streak into the bye, but they're in for one of their toughest challenges of the season right out of the gate against the Seattle Seahawks.
Just ask Head Coach Anthony Lynn.
"Right now, they are doing a heck of a job," he said. "I think they are the hottest team in the NFL right now. They have won four out of their last five…. I'm excited to go over there and play them at their place. It's going to be a heck of a challenge for us, our coaching staff and our players, but this is what we need right now. We think we're getting better as a football team, and this is going to be one hell of a test."
The numbers certainly back up Lynn's assessment.
Their defense is as stingy as they come, giving up the fourth fewest points per game in the NFL (18.7). They also rank third in takeaways (16), fourth against the pass (219.0 ypg) and fifth in total defense (327.3).
On offense, Seattle runs the ball as well as anyone, ranking third in the league in yards per game (137.4). Thus, it's no wonder they lead the NFL in rushing attempts per game (31.7).
Moreover, Lynn stressed how they have the league's best rushing attack over the past five weeks, led by a trio of impressive backs in Chris Carson, Mike Davis and Rashaad Penny. The head coach couldn't help but gush over the way they're pounding the rock, hammering home the challenge the defense is in for on the ground.
"Their offensive line is powerful," he said. "They run block maybe a little better than they pass block, but Russell was perfect as a quarterback last week. I think they know what's working. That's kind of their formula. They have been averaging about 30 rush attempts a game and it's working. Their backs, they are unbelievable."
Oh, and there's also a little matter of playing at CenturyLink Field, which is universally regarded as the toughest place to play.
"That place, that's the loudest place I've ever played," Lynn noted. "I think right now they hold some record for the most false starts in a stadium. It's going to be loud. It's going to be crazy. I was there a couple years ago and I was calling plays, and my quarterback couldn't hear me through the headsets. We have to make some contingency plans for our quarterback to maybe call some of his own plays."
The homefield advantage is no joke as the stadium rocks like no other in the league. Philip Rivers has played there in the regular season twice before, and vividly recalls the tough challenge it presents.
"It's loud," he said. "I mean, it's hard to argue where is the loudest place, but this one definitely is arguably, 1A, 1B in the group (right) up there. Both regular-season games (we played) up there in 2006 and 2010 were super loud. Even preseason there in 2014 it was loud. It will be a heck of an atmosphere. They are on a roll right now, as we are, and so it will be a heck of a challenge playing against them on the field, and then certainly we have to be able to handle the noise, as well."