Buffalo Bills (5-4 SU, 5-3-1 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (3-6 SU, 4-4-1 ATS)
NFL Week 11
Date/Time: Sunday, November 19, 2017 at 4:05PM EST
Where: StubHub Center, Carson, California
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: BUF +4.5/LAC -4.5
Over/Under Total: 43.5
On Sunday, the Buffalo Bills come out west to face the Los Angeles Chargers at the StubHub Center. Both teams are coming off tough weeks for different reasons. The Chargers appeared headed for victory against Jacksonville when the game went haywire in the final few minutes, with the Bolts eventually losing 20-17 in overtime. There was less drama in Buffalos 47-10 home loss to the Saints on Sunday, but at least equal cause for concern. With two losses in a row, Buffalo runs the risk of blowing a nice 5-2 start to the season. They really need a win, but face a good defense in a tricky road spot this week.
Under the first-year stewardship of head coach Sean McDermott, hopes were high for the Bills after seven games, but they now face a put-up or shut-up part of their season. Another loss would lead to even more doubts setting in for the Bills. They rely on a run-game that hasnt fired as well lately, along with a playmaking defense, but the recipe for success has not been a dependable one and we see its not that hard for the Bills to be rendered a pretty impotent team. If their D isnt making a lot of plays and the offense becomes subdued, they dont look very good. Buffalo is not an easy place to win and for the Saints to thrive that well in what seemed to be a tricky road spot for them is troubling.
After leading off the game with a drive that led to a field goal, the Bills offense went into a troubling funk on Sunday, not scoring again until late when the game was already a wipeout. The addition of Kelvin Benjamin could help, but QB Tyrod Taylor put up a Pop Warner stat-line last week, with no one getting any real production aerially. That prompted a move to make Nathan Peterman the starting quarterback this week and he wasnt bad on Sunday in leading the Bills to their only TD. They depend heavily on the run-game, but both LeSean McCoy and Taylor were quiet on the day. One could expect better this coming week, but a long road trip, a losing streak, and facing a tough defense doesnt paint the rosiest picture.
Giving up 34 to the Jets the previous week, then allowing a feeding frenzy to the Saints at home has this Buffalo defense on their heels a bit heading into week 11. They arent the first team to be dominated by the Saints this season, but allowing six rushing touchdowns is a cause for concern. They have also seen less of a pass-rush in recent weeks, in addition to less overall resistance and playmaking. They arent getting better over the course of the season after looking pretty good early. They still have an impressive plus-eleven in turnover ratio, which would usually lead to a winning record, showing its not all their fault. Still, their performances in recent weeks have been incomplete at best.
The Chargers confirmed their knack for blowing it late in games last week in what appeared to look like a win at Jacksonville. They had the ball with dwindling clock when a fumble led to the Jags taking it to OT with a Rivers pick late in the extra period setting up Jacksonville for the win. A lot of teams get bad luck late in games, but this is a recurring problem for the Chargers where things usually dont break their way. This season alone, a few games could have easily gone in the Chargers column. Last Sunday was certainly a case in point.
The Chargers have not been very dependable on offense this season, ruining a lot of good performances from the other side of the ball. On Sunday, we didnt see much from RB Melvin Gordon, who should be better this week. Also relatively quiet on the day were talented playmakers like Travis Benjamin, Mike Williams, Tyrell Williams, Hunter Henry, Antonio Gates, and Keenan Allen. They depended on a big game from Austin Ekeler, who caught two TD passes. He also coughed up the ball with the game apparently in hand. The line has actually been pretty decent, as good as theyve been in recent years, keeping Philip Rivers protected from the pass-rush. But Rivers has been playing poorly, especially late in games. Some of the plays theyve been calling are also puzzling. Its just that they arent getting the most of what they have, with an offense that on paper should be explosive at least occasionally. Now we see Rivers is in concussion protocol, though expected to start on Sunday. If not, it will be longtime backup Kellen Clemens.
Again, a rising D has not been allowed to shine with the inconsistency on the other side of the ball. Last week, they were pretty good, holding a home Jaguars team to 14 points until the late comedy of errors. There are a lot of things on this defense to build on moving forward. A traditionally-leaky secondary has been stout this season, with kudos going to Casey Hayward and others like Tre Boston, who had two interceptions on Sunday. A returning Denzel Perryman at linebacker boosts a second level that is getting good play from guys like second-year LB Jatavis Brown. Giving the defense a lot of teeth this season is the one-two sack machine featuring Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa.
The Chargers are actually trying hard, but they just havent been getting the results to show for it. At some point, their inability to yield the most of what they have isnt just because of bad breaks. Its a systemic issue. Be that as it may, a home spot against a Buffalo defense could be a spot where we see this offense get its act together. Buffalo, however, is feeling the heat and should perform well. Also, its hard to love the spread for potential Chargers backers with some decent value on the Bills this week. Im taking the Bills and the points.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Buffalo Bills plus 4.5 points. - Where are you betting this game? Does your bookie give you the the option to bet on games at -105 odds? NO! He’s charging you -110 (or more!) Sports betting is a game of edges. Don’t let the house get the edge on you! Start betting at discounted odds TODAY at 5Dimes Sportsbook!