NFL Picks: Los Angeles Chargers vs. Detroit Lions Pick
Los Angeles Chargers (1-0 SU, 0-0-1 ATS) vs. Detroit Lions (0-0-1 SU, 0-1 ATS)
NFL Week 2
Date/Time: Sunday, September 15, 2019 at 1PM EDT
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan
Point Spread: LAC -2.5/DET +2.5 (BetNow)
Over/Under Total: 47.5
The Los Angeles Chargers come into Ford Field on Sunday for a week two pairing with the Detroit Lions. Both teams nearly collapsed in week one after building leads, with the Chargers hanging on in overtime to beat the Colts, 30-24, after being up by 15 in the third quarter. Detroit saw things get even worse after building a 17-0 lead against the Cardinals in week one, as Arizona rode the arm of rookie Kyler Murray to get it to a 24-24 tie, with both teams exchanging field goals in overtime en route to a tie. Which team can put together a full game and notch the cover this week?
The Problem Betting on the Bolts
Now that the Chargers are a good team and perceived as such, they’re in a different realm from a point spread standpoint. They always seemed like a better team to take as dogs. Some teams are just better to bet as underdogs. Anyone who has followed the Bolts over the years knows they never get the most of what they have. And for anyone who saw them up by 15 points on Sunday against the Colts couldn’t be surprised to see things eventually knotted up at 24 apiece. As a matter of tradition, they don’t take everything that’s on the table. When playing with the lead and needing to cover a number, you will often be left irritated and upset betting on this team.
Life Without Gordon
Against Detroit, a good run-game paid off and helped open things up for the ultra-deep Chargers’ aerial attack, which showed its teeth on Sunday with Philip Rivers going for 333 yards and 3 TDs. But they now proceed for the time being without top back Melvin Gordon. Some suspected after going 4-0 without Gordon in ’18 and seeing how well Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson looked last season that it wouldn’t result in a disaster and week one affirmed that notion. Ekeler was huge with a TD run and two more scores through the air on 96 yards receiving. Jackson added a useful 57 yards on just six carries. How this resonates throughout the season remains to be seen, but they seem to be in good hands.
A Lot to Throw at the Detroit Defense
One would imagine the Chargers are going to have success on offense this week and perhaps to an alarming degree. The Detroit secondary melted in the Arizona heat on Sunday, yielding a 300-yard game to a rookie in his first game. Their secondary lost some juice, and a lot of stars are going to have to line up right for the Lions to not have a substandard secondary. With the still-prolific Rivers dealing to Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, Travis Benjamin, TE Hunter Henry, and an excellent ball-catcher in Ekeler, they will have a lot to contain. And being unable to neglect the run-game, this Detroit “D” could be on its heels. If they couldn’t handle what the Cardinals were throwing at them, how will this look?
Exploiting the Chargers’ Defense
The Chargers’ defense didn’t acquit itself that great in week one, first in being unable to really stop the run, but also in being less-than-clutch when playing with the lead. And that’s more of an endemic condition with this franchise. On Sunday, they yielded a massive 174 yards to Marlon Mack. There is a ton of talent on this Chargers’ defense. Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa both had sacks on Sunday. But not having game-changing safety Derwin James in there seemed to cost them some of their gusto and their secondary definitely takes a step back without him, as TY Hilton showed on Sunday with two TD catches. And despite how much they rush the passer, they are still dicey in the run-stop category.
With 385 yards through the air last week, Matthew Stafford can still air it out and made great use of two new targets on Sunday, with rookie tight end TJ Hockenson and Danny Amendola both going over 100 yards, with Marvin Jones and Kenny Golladay also contributing. If Hockenson and Amendola can continue to shine, the Detroit aerial-game could take a big leap this season. And with San Diego unable to control the likes of Marlon Mack, maybe the 1-2 RB punch of Kerryon Johnson and CJ Anderson can see better results this week. I don’t think it’s that hard to envision Detroit moving the ball on Sunday against the Bolts.
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