It took a little while, but the Chargers were able to get something great out of their dominating bell-cow running back Melvin Gordon. He looks to be totally worth the first-round pick coming out of Wisconsin in the 2016 NFL Draft. Trying to stop him will be the savvy veteran inside linebacker NaVorro Bowman for the Raiders.
Gordon will be key in the Chargers’ ability to move the ball on the Oakland defense. Using the run to open up the pass for future Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback Philip Rivers could prove disastrous for the Raiders secondary. The play-action fake for the Chargers stems off Gordon’s ability to pound the rock.
Bowman has been a godsend to this Raiders defense since his arrival shortly before Week 7. He has given a sense of professionalism to the middle of the Raiders defense. Though past his prime, Bowman is still a tackling machine and a high IQ play most defensive-minded coaches would love to have anchoring their defense. Bowman has helped bring along most notably rookie linebacker Nicholas Morrow in this campaign.
In essence, we will be seeing one of the best inside linebackers of the last 10 years going up against one of the 10 best running backs in football today. Bowman might be exiting his prime, but Gordon is just now entering his. This is an exciting man-on-man matchup to say the very least.