Philadelphia Eagles vs. San Diego Chargers Preview and Pick – Point Spread

Philadelphia Eagles (5-3 SU, 5-3 ATS) vs. San Diego Chargers (5-3 SU,
3-5 ATS), 4:15 p.m. EST, NFL Week 10, Sunday, November 15, 2009, Qualcomm Stadium,
San Diego, Calif., TV: FOX

by Badger of

Point Spread: Eagles +2.5/Chargers -2.5
Over/Under: 47

The Philadelphia Eagles will try and keep pace in the NFC East and
get back into the win column on Sunday afternoon, but theyll have to
do it against one of the hottest teams in the NFL right now when they
travel to sunny San Diego to take on Philip Rivers and the Chargers in Qualcomm Stadium.

The Eagles dropped a tough one to their division rival Dallas Cowboys
last weekend, 20-16, when Miles Austin ran a double-move down the
sideline for what turned into the game-winning 49-yard touchdown.
Kicker David Akers drilled a 52-yard field goal to make it a one-
score game in the closing minutes, but the Eagles were unable to get
the final drive and wound up with the loss.

The Chargers won their third game in a row on Sunday when Rivers led
the team on an 80-yard scoring drive in the final two minutes,
snatching a victory on the road away from the reeling New York
Giants, 21-20. More importantly, the win moved the Chargers to within
a game of the first-place Broncos in the AFC West, setting the stage
for another two horse race for the division title in the second half
of the regular season.

As exciting and inspiring of a finish the Chargers victory was last week, oddsmakers in Las Vegas continue to be unimpressed with the
Bolts opening the game with the Eagles this Sunday with San Diego as
just 2.5-point favorites. Heavy action on the East Coast Eagles has
moved the number down to Chargers minus -2 at most offshore
sportsbooks, with a few of them dropping the point spread down
further to -1.5 or even -1.

The over/under total opened at 48 and has seen a full-point drop in line movement down to 47 at a majority of the books. There are even a few 46.5s on the board.

The fact that the early action is pouring in on the under is somewhat
surprising, considering that both teams are ranked in the top-10 in
scoring (Philly 4th 27.4 ppg; SD 10th 25.8 ppg) and both teams
have totally abandoned the running game in favor of a pass-happy
scheme on offense.

The Chargers rank dead-last 32nd in the league in rushing yards per game (69.6 ypg), while Rivers and the receiving core have much better
success chuckin-n-duckin at a rate of 265.8 yards a game (7th).
LaDainian Tomlinson has been ineffective, and has actually been
replaced by scat-back Darren Sproles in crunch-time situations.

The Eagles issues with the running game are more at the hands of head
coach Andy Reid and coordinator Marty Morningwhig, as in they seem to
abandon the run quickly and without remorse. The Eagles rank 17th in
the league in rushing (112.1 ypg), so they have had success even
without Brian Westbrook in the lineup.

Either way, the increased load on Donovan McNabb and the offensive
line has taken its toll the last few weeks. The passing game is still
successful (226.4 ypg 15th), but left tackle Jason Peters is banged
up and guard Shawn Andrews is already on IR, so it could be a long
afternoon if they dont slow down the Chargers pass rush with more
run-pass balance.

Defensively the Eagles will have the edge, at least on paper.

Philadelphia continues to utilize a blitz-happy scheme that brings
more defenders than the offense has blockers, putting the pressure on
Rivers and the Chargers offensive line to identify and account for
everyone on every play. As a whole they are 8th in points allowed
(19.1 ppg) and 10th overall in yardage allowed (304.5 ypg).

The Chargers defense has picked it up the past few weeks, but they
continue to rank near the bottom in most of the defensive categories
including the most important category of them all, points allowed
(22.4 ppg 22nd). Without tackle Jamal Williams taking up blocks in
the middle the Chargers run defense has been especially poor (130.1
ypg 26th), but who knows if the Eagles will try and take advantage
of the weakness since they have their own issues along the line.

The Eagles won the last two meeting between these two teams, beating
the Chargers 20-17 in 2005 and 24-14 in 2001, but both of those games
were played on the East Coast in Philly. The last time they had to
travel to the other side of the states they were handed a 13-10 loss
(in 1998).

In fact, San Diego is a perfect 3-0 SU against the Eagles in games
played at Qualcomm, while just 1-3 SU when in the City of Brotherly
Love. And lets not forget the last time the Eagles traveled to
California for a game, they laid a huge turd in the form of a 13-9
loss at Oakland.

There is no apparent edge for bettors in this head-to-head series either, as it is tied 3-3-1 ATS dating back to the 1985 season. The
over/under betting trends are also all over the board, with nothing
of real value to glean from the mountain of data.

Badgers Pick: I think the Eagles defense is going to blitz the
socks off of Rivers in this game Sunday, especially since the
Chargers dont even try to run the football any more. But that darn
East Coast team traveling to the West Coast factor has me doubting my
gut, so Im probably going to stay away from the Eagles on that
principle alone. Since the public is moving the total down in early
betting, Im going to fade the action and play this game in the other
direction. Take the over of 46.5 (if you can get it) or 47.