Washington Redskins (5-7 SU, 5-7 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (6-6 SU, 6-5-1 ATS)
NFL Week 14
Date/Time: Sunday, December 10, 2017 at 4:05PM EST
Where: StubHub Center, Carson, California
by Scott, Expert Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: WAS +6/LAC -6
Over/Under Total: 46
The Washington Redskins make the long cross-country road trip to face the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. The Chargers have overcome a rough start to the season and what seemed like a hopeless deficit in the division and are now in a three-way tie atop the division. On Sunday, they beat the Browns, 19-10, for their 6th win in 8 games and look for another win on Sunday against the incoming Redskins. Last Thursday, the Redskins fell to 5-7 in a loss to the Cowboys. But they can be dangerous and look to spring the road surprise this week against the surging, but still undependable Chargers.
The Chargers started 0-4 and with the Chiefs running away with it, the AFC West seemed like a lost cause. But with the Chiefs and everyone else within the division struggling of late, the Chargers were steadfast, overcame some painful losses, and here we are heading into the final four games with them somehow tied atop the division. On Sunday, their win over the Browns was more of a grind than it was supposed to be. On one hand, they could be in the drivers seat if they had won a few of the several games they should have won this season and blew. Their defense has been tough all year and with their offense now following suit, they look really goodbetter than either the Chiefs or the Raiders. At the same time, their formula for success is a fragile one and theyre never too far from seeing it all evaporate.
The Chargers re-emerging as contenders has come just as the offense started playing a lot better. On Sunday, they only extracted 19 points of scoring on 429 yards of offense and will look to do better moving forward. Philip Rivers was good with 344 yards and has been putting up some big numbers lately. He did struggle, however, in converting yards into points in the red-zone. Receiver Keenan Allen continued his fine play and had ten catches on Sunday. Hunter Henry and Travis Benjamin were useful on Sunday, with RB Melvin Gordon adding 77 yards on the ground. Still, they will likely need to be better on Sunday and certainly moving forward.
The Chargers defense has been the key to their success this season. It really stands out more with the offense now sharing in the heavy-lifting. In their last 7 games, they are giving up an average of less than 15 points a game. The secondary has been huge this season and it was again on Sunday, with Casey Hayward, Tre Boston, Jahleel Addae, and others contributing with stout coverage and big plays. The pass-rush has been robust this season with Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa pressuring quarterbacks. Bosa was all over DeShone Kizer on Sunday. This is a peaking group and well see how they do this week against a Redskins offense that can be pretty dangerous on the right day.
A lack of consistency has undermined the entire season for the Redskins this season. They have shown flashes of what they are capable of at their best. A few weeks ago, they saw a ton of things go wrong and cost them a road win over a streaking Saints team, but they have beaten the Rams and Seahawks on the road this season, showing that they are up for a task like this. But inconsistency on offense and a defense that plays with a wide range of form from week-to-week makes them far from bankable.
On one hand, the Redskins offense has a lot going for it with a QB in Kirk Cousins who can air it out, along with a lot of talented playmakers. But in practice, its a bit of a mish-mosh. Its good to have a lot of different guys contributing, but the roles arent clearly spelled-out. Different guys provide production in this offense from week to week, with no one really thriving. WR Jamison Crowder has stepped up in recent weeks. WR Josh Doctson has made big plays, but still only has 24 catches on the season. Terrelle Pryor hasnt really worked out and is out. Its been a mixed bag aerially. Some recent big performances from RB Samaje Perine offer promise, but they face a really tough defense this week in a spot where theyll be out of their element. But again, they already shined in LA this season. Can they do it again this week?
A lot of injuries and inconsistent play have made the Redskins defense less than what some of their backers imagined heading into the season. A secondary that has been dodgy for much of the season wasnt bad in their last game, holding Dak Prescott to 104 yards passing. They can make plays, with Josh Norman having a good season, while DJ Swearinger and Kendall Fuller have combined for 7 interceptions. Linebackers Zach Vigil and Zach Brown were both hurt on Thursday and iffy for this week. Thats an area that has been battered by the injury big this season and only Ryan Kerrigan remains as a viable playmaker if Vigil and Brown are compromised. The front hasnt been that strong, with the opposing ground-game able to run the ball with ease at times. What can they come up with against a peaking Chargers offense that can get you in so many ways?
The Chargers can cover the spread in any spot. And its certainly not all that hard to envision them giving a beating to the Redskins this week or at least winning comfortably. But as the Chargers illustrated last week, they lack some appeal in these kinds of spots where theyre expected to thrive. Theyre better in a role where expectations are low. I see the Redskins putting up enough offense to keep this one respectable.
Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Washington Redskins plus 6 points. If you went to the store and on the shelf was the exact same product, one for $110 and one for $105 which would you buy? The cheaper one of course! So why would you pay -110 odds on your bets instead of -105? Start betting at discounted odds today at 5Dimes!