Houston Texans vs. Los Angeles Chargers Pick 9/22/19
Houston Texans (1-1 SU, 1-1 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (1-1 SU, 0-2 ATS)
NFL Week 3
Date/Time: Sunday, September 22, 2019 at 4:25PM EDT
Where: Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California
Point Spread: HOU/LAC (Pinnacle)
Over/Under Total: 47.5
The Houston Texans come to Carson for a week three matchup with the Los Angeles Chargers n AFC action on Sunday. Both teams enter this game at 1-1. On Sunday, the Chargers fell to the Lions, 13-10, in a flat performance. After not looking that great in week one in an overtime win, they look to hit their stride at home this week. Houston was able to recover from a painful opening-week loss to the Saints to salvage a dramatic win over the Jaguars on Sunday, 13-12. The Jags went for a two-point conversion late to win the game rather than tie it with the kick, and unlike week one, the Texans’ defense showed some late clutch to sew up the big win.
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Early Season Drama
It’s been a draining first two weeks for the Texans, and a loss on Sunday could have really been devastating. Good for them that Justin Reid was able to bring down Leonard Fournette short of the goal-line or it would represent a painful two-week period for the Titans. After squandering a miraculous comeback win on MNF in week one in a near-upset against New Orleans and seeing their defense choke and the Saints hit a 58-yard FG to win it, they were able to right the ship. For the Chargers, however, they have failed to hit the ground running to start the season. After opening strongly against the Colts, they gave up a big lead and had to go to overtime to win. Then as favorites against Detroit, the offense laid an egg and they lost a low-scoring game. Will the Chargers start looking like the 12-win team from last season starting now?
Which Offense Can Fire Up This Week?
After a week where the Chargers scored 10 points, and the Texans scored 13, the question is which offense will be able to fire this week. Rivers has been a bit erratic through two weeks and not having Melvin Gordon in there has to hurt. Still, they get a pretty good run game from Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson. Rivers needs to make a more-substantial with his targets. On Sunday, 293 yards accounted for very little. With Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Ekeler and others having big days on Sunday, they just couldn’t close escrow. And that’s an ongoing issue with the Bolts—a lot of offensive spark until they get into the red-zone, where things often stall. Even with Rivers pretty well protected, he couldn’t get a flow going on Sunday.
The Houston aerial attack stagnated in week two, with Watson held to an uncharacteristic 159 yards. DeAndre Hopkins was kept quiet with just 40 yards and Will Fuller, V. didn’t make much of an impact. Though the offense stagnated most of the day, they at least got a second good game in a row from Carlos Hyde, who ran for 90 workmanlike yards to keep Houston a nose ahead in a defensive struggle. It’s not that easy when you lose vital pieces, and your offensive line isn’t that good. More often than not, Watson is under pressure.
Chargers Looking to Flex Defensive Muscle
While the Chargers will take some heat for a tough and uninspired-looking loss on Sunday at Detroit, some kudos should go to the defense. Casey Hayward and Rayshawn Jenkins both picked off Stafford. But they’re missing a big chunk of their playmaking ability with Derwin James still out. Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram were quiet on Sunday, but look for them to be better at home, against an offensive line that will be hard-pressed to contain all the different things thrown at them. The middle has a little more edge now with Thomas Davis adding his veteran leadership to the second level. I don’t think the Houston front matches up very well at all. But maybe Watson and Hopkins will be able to connect better this week. But the Chargers’ defense from week two looked pretty good.
Houston “D” Coming to Life
Failing to New Orleans was troubling, but understandable. The final sequences don’t paint the players or coaching in a positive light, but a lot of defenses are made to look ordinary against the Saints. Now on the other end of the spectrum is the Jaguars’ offense, without their starting quarterback. Against that offense, the Texans’ defense thrived both against the pass and run, while getting after the quarterback, with Whitney Mercilus having another big game with two sacks. Their secondary, however, should be readily-exploitable by Rivers and all his different weapons. After giving up 370 to Drew Brees, look for Rivers to have some success at home.
Questions for Both Teams
It’s only been two weeks, and they are just 1-1, hardly emergency-mode, but it’s fair to ask some questions of the Bolts through two weeks. With Gordon holding out and James injured on defense, that’s two significant weapons from last season gone. They lost their starting tight end, a tackle, a corner, and a lot of other role guys. It may have disrupted the recipe just enough to have rendered the Chargers a reduced force. Or maybe they just need time to adjust, and this is a spot where they will more-squarely in their wheelhouse and more apt to perform.
The Texans are on some weeks, off on others. Can they find the consistency to make another run at a division title or will they be all over the place this season? Sure, they stopped Jacksonville on the two-point conversion last week in a clutch play, but after giving up late-scores in two straight games, they shouldn’t have even been in that spot. With a Chargers’ defense that has been easy to run on through two games, can the Houston O-line help spring loose Hyde and Duke Johnson? Will DeAndre Hopkins see more work this week or will Watson be too under pressure from the talented Chargers’ pass-rush to forge a meaningful aerial attack?
Lay the Points on the Home Favorite
Beyond just thinking the Chargers are perhaps “due,” a lot of matchups would appear to favor them to the degree that exceeds the spread. They haven’t looked great, particularly against the run, but Houston’s isn’t that electric. On offense, the variety of Chargers’ weapons will have the Houston defense on their toes, while the Bolts’ defense zeroes in on a dicey Houston offensive line. I see the Chargers getting a solid win at home this week.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Los Angeles Chargers minus points.
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