Panthers vs. Chargers Week 3 Pick
Carolina Panthers (0-2 SU, 0-2 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (1-1 SU, 2-0 ATS)
Week 3 NFL
Date/Time: Sunday, September 27, 2020 at 4:05PM EDT
Where: Sofi Stadium, Inglewood, California
Point Spread: CAR +6.5/LAC -6.5 (BetNow) - One Week Only! 100% Bonus up to $500!!!!
Over/Under Total: 44
The Carolina Panthers come to Inglewood on Sunday for a week three battle with the Los Angeles Chargers. At 1-1, the Chargers nearly kicked their season into high-gear on Sunday, failing to hold onto a late lead and losing in the final seconds to the Chiefs. They stay home for another week to host the Panthers, who fell to 0-2 on Sunday in an ugly loss to the Bucs, 31-17. After a narrow loss to the Raiders the previous week, they took a step back in week two. Can they hang in there against the Chargers? Let’s break it down!
Where Do the Panthers Turn From Here?
Losing to the Buccaneers on Sunday was the least of their problems. With the Panthers’ offense already struggling for star-power, losing Christian McCaffrey to injury is a staggering blow. Most of the offense runs through him, and it’s a massive loss. However bad the Panthers were, they always had McCaffrey, so you couldn’t really blow them off completely. It’s not easy to see how they spin out of this. Maybe Mike Davis gets more carries. Teddy Bridgewater loses his main weapon and might have to forge more of an aerial attack. Robby Anderson has been looking good in this offense, and DJ Moore is coming into his own. But the weapons are now few and far between.
Bridgewater does have the ability to air it out, as he has 636 yards through two games. Two picks on Sunday were costly, and getting just 17 points on 367 yards passing isn’t very good. On top of that, their defense isn’t offering a lot of support. In a way, McCaffrey was the only thing separating them from full-fledged awfulness. Whether they can martial their resources and patch it up remains to be seen, but suffice to say, things don’t look good.
Do Chargers Stick With Herbert?
After Tyrod Taylor hurt his chest in warm-ups, Justin Herbert came in and nearly led his team to a huge win over the Chiefs. Some mistakes late helped pave the way for the Chiefs’ comeback, but overall, he was really good. Coach Anthony Lynn, however, says Taylor is still the starter if healthy. We’ll see how this plays out closer to game-time, but it seemed like there was more life on the offense with Herbert’s energy, live arm, and running ability. He went over 300 yards working well with Keenan Allen, Mike Williams, and Hunter Henry, with a nice 1-2 punch at running back developing with Austin Ekeler and rookie Joshua Kelley. Both are also good at catching passes. But they are suffering injuries, and the offensive line always seems the most-bitten by the injury bug. They lost center, Mike Pouncey, for the season, and now T Bryan Bulaga is banged up. And that feeds into the one thing the Panthers can still do, which provides some heat up-front on defense, though we didn’t really see it last week.
Problems Betting on the Chargers
It seems there are certain institutional things that persist with the Chargers regardless of player turnover or the passage of time. We’ve already seen it this season where they blow leads and collapse in the fourth quarter. They also play down to the level of their competition. For years and even in game one against Cincinnati, they never play their best as favorites against what appears to be bad teams. It makes them a little more-dicey in these kinds of spots than you would otherwise think with a similarly-powered team.
With Melvin Ingram banged up, they need to stem the injury bug on defense from claiming any more of their best players, with Derwin James already out of action. Still, they’ve been pretty good through two weeks, and other than collapsing a little late against Kansas City, which is prone to happen, they’ve held together really well. I think the problems exist more on offense. Lynn seems insistent on Taylor, even after his rookie first-round pick threw for 311 yards in his debut. And that lack of a sure identity could hurt, as Lynn seems to be headed toward a QB controversy of his own making.
Bad Matchup Components for Carolina
The Chargers, unlike Carolina, have a lot of weapons on offense. They have different weapons in the run-game, different receivers who can do damage, and a tight end who can be very productive. That’s a lot for a Carolina defense that is still finding its legs to contain. And whether it’s Herbert or Taylor, the Chargers have a quarterback who can be effective on the move and can spring loose for big runs. With the Carolina offense, you have a stationary quarterback in Bridgewater who is now without his best weapon, forced to become extra-aerial against a Chargers’ secondary that is stout and can make a lot of plays. The Chargers will also bring the heat and will test this Carolina offensive line to a degree they have not seen this season.
Lay the Number on the Home Favorite
I don’t love the Chargers in this role, as they are generally a higher-appeal pick in games like last week where people aren’t expecting much. And the uncertainty at quarterback isn’t helpful, either. It’s just that without McCaffrey, the Carolina offense might be lost in this out-of-conference road trip against a Chargers’ defense that looks like it means business this season. Carolina is on the heels of ten straight losses and just lost their best player, making one wonder if even the Chargers could screw this one up. I’ll take the Bolts.
Loot’s Prediction to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Los Angeles Chargers minus 6.5 points. Bet your Week 3 NFL picks for FREE by taking advantage of a 100% REAL CASH bonus on your first deposit of $100 to $300 at MyBookie Sportsbook!
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