Los Angeles Chargers at Los Angeles Rams (-7)
Sun. 9/23, 4:05 p.m. ET
Three things you need to know before betting on Chargers-Rams:
1. The Chargers and Rams have met just twice since 2010, and the home team won by three points in each of those games. The most recent meeting came in 2014, when the Chargers played host in San Diego. And yes, the Rams were still in St. Louis. Needless to say, a lot has changed for both of these teams since then. The Chargers have loaded up on young talent on the defensive side of the ball, but the issue is that they can’t seem to stay healthy. Talented CB Jason Verrett tore his Achilles before the season even started (he’s out for the year), and star DE Joey Bosa is week-to-week with what is being called a bruised foot. Until he comes back, this Chargers defense is beatable—as evidenced by the fact that the unit has allowed 58 points only two weeks into this young season.
2. If there’s a team in the league with the offensive firepower to really take advantage of the Chargers’ misfortune on defense, it’s the Rams. Head coach Sean McVay has built one of the league’s most explosive offenses, headlined by superstar running back Todd Gurley—who has already racked up four touchdowns on the season. Gurley should have plenty of holes to run through this week, but even if he doesn’t, then it will likely just mean that QB Jared Goff was able to shred the Chargers through the air. The Rams utilize the play-action pass better than anybody in football.
3. It also can’t be taken for granted that the Rams’ 34-0 win over the Cardinals last week was comfortably played in the confines of LA Memorial Coliseum. After playing in Oakland in Week 1, this team has barely had to travel at all. Meanwhile, the Chargers had to head across the country to Buffalo and now have to come all the way back to Los Angeles. That will take its toll on any team. And it’s also worth noting that the Chargers were 0-5 against teams that won at least 10 games in 2017, and that trend of not showing up against superior opponents continued in Los Angeles’ 38-28 loss to Kansas City in Week 1. In those six losses combined, the Chargers lost by an average of 9.0 points per game. That’s not good considering they had Bosa in all five of the games played last year.
Pick: Rams -7
Confidence Level: Moderate (on a scale of Low/Moderate/High/Very High/Extremely High)