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One Major Factor Could Decide Outcome of Chargers-Seahawks

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The Chargers and Seahawks have become familiar preseason opponents as they've met each other in exhibition play the past two years.

However, this Sunday, they'll share the field in the regular season for the first time since 2014.

Both teams are two of the hottest in the NFL, with the Chargers winning four straight and the Seahawks notching two straight, with four victories in their last five games.

One streak will come to an end on Sunday, and who wins the battle on the ground may be the deciding factor.

Much of each team's success has come down to what they've been able to do in the run game. The Bolts' offense has gotten it going on the ground this season. But on the flip side, their defense has done well against the run, but is tasked with containing the league's fifth-ranked rushing attack in Seattle this weekend.

"I think they're averaging over 170 yards a game rushing over the last four games," Chargers Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley said. "You don't watch them and say, 'Oh, there's a 30-yard run, there is a 40-yard run, there is a 20-yard run.' There are a lot of four and five, and six and seven (yard runs). When you look at the stats, there might be a 12 and a 15 (here and there). I mean, they just are very convicted."

Part of the Bolts' success against the run on Sunday will not only be to contain the running backs themselves, but to also pressure the Seahawks' offensive line. What used to be one of the more influx groups in the NFL has found stability this year, and Seahawks Head Coach Pete Carroll knows Bradley's defense will come into CenturyLink Field ready to attack.

"We recognize the scheme," Carroll mentioned. "There's a lot of familiar stuff being played and similarities. We appreciate the great job that Gus does. They're a really well-coached, disciplined (and) high energy group. They're fitting together really well with a real potent offense, that they don't give up the big plays. They're really solid, they're really hard to beat. It's a good group."

Flipping to that "potent" Bolts offense as Carroll remarked, it starts with Philip Rivers. Number 17 is off to one of his best starts in his career, and is set to make his 200th-straight start on Sunday. Although his job is to limit Rivers' production, Carroll couldn't help but gush about the quarterback and how he continues to perform at such a high-level week in and week out.

"He's such an extraordinary player," he said. "You find some of the really great players in the league just know how to stay healthy, know how to make it through and know how to deal with the issues that they have that might stop other players from playing. Philip has been such a great competitor. I think that's what stands out about it. He's always been able to battle through. You wouldn't even know the things that he's had to endure. (It's) a great statement about who he is and what he's all about. What a great aspect of the Chargers program he's been for so long, it's really something."

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