The Jacksonville Jaguars are probably the closest thing the Chargers have to a divisional opponent in recent years, having played each other the past five seasons.
While the Bolts have won the last six contests, this is a far different Jacksonville team than the ones they've faced in the past. At the same time, Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone and defensive end Calais Campbell know they're going to get a Chargers team fresh off their bye and hungry for a win.
"(Philip) Rivers has had great success versus the Jaguars," Marrone said. "In six games he's played, he's never lost to us and he's had really unbelievable days; just outstanding. (Keenan) Allen is a targeted guy, heck of a player (and) done an outstanding job. (Melvin Gordon) can run the ball, has speed, power (and) breaks tackles, so he will be a challenge for us."
"Philip Rivers is one of the best to ever do it," Campbell added. "It's always exciting just playing against him and just watching him on tape. I mean, he can make every throw, he's in control of the whole offense – he gets those guys on the same page and playing very hard. The last few weeks, they've been running the ball very, very, very strong. I think Melvin Gordon is a complete back. He might be one of the best in the league. I know he's young, but he's really come into the league strong…. It's going to be a tough battle all the way across the board."
A common thread between these two teams is Chargers Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley, who spent four seasons in Jacksonville as the team's head coach. Now in charge of the Bolts' defense, Marrone discussed what kind of impact he's seen Bradley have on the unit.
"He's an outstanding coach," he said. "Everywhere he's been as a defensive coordinator, the group has played well, with a lot of effort. You know you're going to get the most out of them. He puts players in the best position he can to make plays. He's an outstanding coach and a better person."
Jacksonville boasts one of the top defenses in the league with Campbell leading the NFL in sacks (11). But, as Marrone alluded, the Chargers defense is making a name for themselves. Although they won't play directly against each other, Campbell can recognize talent, and described what makes reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year Joey Bosa "special".
"He's a technician. He plays with a motor – high, high motor. He loves the game of football. You've got to love watching guys like that."