Here are five keys to the game heading into the Week 16 matchup between the San Diego Chargers and the Cleveland Browns.
1. PROTECT THE ROCK! – The same exact first key as last week, the Chargers must do a better job of holding onto the football. San Diego leads the league with 32 giveaways. There is never a good time to turn the ball over, but the Bolts' have had a penchant of giving it away at the most inopportune times. Last week, that included a fumble at their own 13-yard line while leading by three in the fourth quarter as well as an interception on fourth down in the final minutes. Few teams have been able to slow the Chargers offense, so the team must do a better job of holding onto the rock.
2. Weather the Elements – It wouldn't be a trip to Cleveland without brutal conditions, as the Bolts played in 18 degree weather (-10 with wind chill) in 2004 and vicious winds and freezing rain in 2012. Saturday shouldn't be as bad, but forecasts call for temperatures in the 30s, winds ranging from 10 to 20 MPH and a decent chance of rain. Philip Rivers says nothing affects the passing game for him more than high winds, so he's been practicing with a glove on his throwing hand all week.
3. Throw Away the Records – It's been a tough year in Cleveland as the Browns are 0-14 heading into Week 16. However, when the Bolts turn on the film, they don't see a winless team. Instead, they see a Browns squad that has been competitive all year with a chance to pull out a number of their close losses. San Diego knows firsthand how dangerous the Browns are as when the teams met a year ago, the Chargers pulled out a last second win when Josh Lambo connected with no time left on the clock. The Bolts also expect a feisty team desperate to get their first win in their last home game of the season.
4. Attack RGIII –Quarterback has been a revolving door for the Browns this year after Robert Griffin III suffered an injury in the second week of the season. However, he returned earlier this month and will be under center when the game kicks off. The Bolts know just how dangerous RGIII can be as they dropped their lone meeting against the quarterback while he was with the Redskins in 2013. Griffin is capable of getting on a roll, with players from Joey Bosa to Melvin Ingram stressing the need to keep him contained and not let him gain any momentum.
5. Contain Pryor –Former quarterback Terrelle Pryor's emergence as a dangerous wide receiver is a bright spot in a difficult year for the Browns. It's been a breakout season for the 27-year old, who has caught 67 passes for 877 yards and four touchdowns. Pryor has been limited at practice this week with a finger injury, but has given every indication he'll take the field on Christmas Eve. He'll be the latest challenge for Casey Hayward, who earned his first Pro Bowl nod on Tuesday for his ability to shut down the opposition's top weapon.