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GAMEDAY: Washington Keys To Success Vs. Chargers

As Washington hosts the Chargers for its season opener, the defense needs to get to quarterback Justin Herbert and the offense needs to limit turnovers.

The Washington Football Team is back and could look better than ever. Washington's top-10 defense is returning with more depth than last season, with the additions of free-agent cornerback William Jackson III, rookie first-round linebacker Jamin Davis and rookie third-round pick Benjamin St-Juste. The burgundy-and-gold offense is a work in progress, but quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick looks to build chemistry with his new teammates.

Wide receiver Curtis Samuel was a free-agent pickup head coach Ron Rivera and his staff were very excited to pair with Terry McLaurin, but will have to wait. On Friday, Samuel was placed on the short-term IR.

"We're trying to catch up from those lost two weeks," Rivera said about his decision to put Samuel on IR. "We pushed him a little bit last week, he's not ready so we figured this would be the best thing to do."

While Washington looks good on paper, it needs to bring its best against the talented Los Angeles Chargers. They boast reigning Offensive Rookie of the Year quarterback Justin Herbert, running back Austin Ekeler, star receiver Keenan Allen and explosive defensive end Joey Bosa.

If Washington wants to win, constant pressure on Herbert and a limit on offensive turnovers is a must.

RECORDS: Washington Football Team (0-0), Chargers`(0-0)

ODDS: Washington is 1-point favorite. Total is a 44.5.

BETTING TRENDS: Washington is 0-0 against the spread this season. It was 1-2 against the spread this preseason.

READ MORE: How To Watch: Chargers at Washington - Who's Healthy?

FUN FACT: Ryan Fitzpatrick and quarterback Aaron Rodgers are the only two active quarterbacks left in NFL from the 2005 NFL Draft.

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KEEP AN EYE ON: Washington third-round rookie wide receiver Dyami Brown looks to be a player that will have to step up sooner than expected. He has explosive speed and sharp route running already. With Samuel on the IR, Brown will get his opportunities early in the season.

A WELCOME ADDITION: Safety Landon Collins and defensive end Matt Ioannidis both suffered season-ending injuries last year and are ready to show they are back to form. Collins will bring needed depth to the secondary and Ioannidis' will make Washington's defensive line even more stacked. 

WASHINGTON'S KEYS TO SUCCESS: It needs to up the pressure on Herbert and limit turnovers on offense. When Herbert had time in the pocket last season, he would light up the field, finishing top-10 in both passing yards and touchdowns. He didn't play in the preseason, so Washington's defense needs to capitalize on pressure before Herbert shakes off the rust.

It's a cause for concern that Washington's starting offense didn't score a touchdown in the preseason, but more importantly it must limit turnovers. Fitzpatrick played in nine games last season and went on to throw eight interceptions. Washington's defense struggled to make up for the offense's mistakes last season and would often give up points as a result. When the offense protected the football, the defense would often thrive.

READ MORE: Injury Update LISTEN: Will WFT Have To Face Austin Ekeler?

READ MORE: WFT Coach Ron Rivera Reveals Reasons for Curtis Samuel Move

GAME TIME: 1 p.m. ET, Sunday, Sept. 12

LOCATION: FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland

TV/RADIO: CBS, The Team 980, WMAL 105.9

THE FINAL WORD: "To me, you went through a tough situation. You found an ability to reach down and find something to help you get through that. And that's stuff you build on." Rivera said, reflecting on last season. "But if for whatever reason we come out and say, ‘Well, we arrived. Man, we got this.’ Then we're not going to get better. That's what I'm concerned about and that's what I want to feel good about when we get ready to play that first regular-season game."