The Los Angeles Chargers are an excellent soccer group. Even within the absence of Keenan Allen and Mike Williams for elements of the season, the downfall of JC Jackson, and the abysmal play of Jerry Tiller on the D-line — fortunately he simply acquired waived — the Chargers have performed their option to a 5-3 file and are very a lot within the thick of a division title on the midway level of the season.
This weekend, the Bolts play the San Francisco 49ers in SoCal in what seems like an entertaining matchup between two low-end Tremendous Bowl contenders. In actuality, although, San Francisco ought to completely wipe the ground with L.A. Not as a result of the Chargers’ file is best than their precise efficiency, however relatively as a result of the 49ers match up phenomenally effectively.
Let’s begin with the elephant within the room, the issue everyone seems to be speaking about — the Chargers’ run protection. It’s no secret that Los Angeles does about as effectively at stopping the run because the NFL does at implementing roughing the passer. The offseason addition of Khalil Mack was presupposed to mitigate this drawback, since Mack had been among the finest edge defenders towards the run for a few years. He’s been good, however the remainder of the D-line has been underperforming, and people struggles have been amplified with the absence of All-Professional go rusher Joey Bosa. The Chargers are permitting probably the most yards per rush of any group within the NFL (5.7). They’re second within the NFL in EPA allowed per rush play as effectively, solely forward of the Cleveland Browns in that division.
Now, the Niners haven’t been an elite speeding group this 12 months. Actually, they’ve been under common when it comes to each EPA and complete yards, however make no mistake, the 49ers’ id is as a run-heavy group, and with Christian McCaffrey suiting up for his third recreation with the group, San Fran’s speeding assault may very well be an excessive amount of for the Chargers to deal with, even with the absence of left deal with Trent Williams.
Now, the 49ers’ secondary is somewhat suspect. Whereas most of the Niners’ devoted had been anticipating cornerback Jason Verrett to return quickly, he as an alternative suffered a season-ending Achilles harm in apply this week. Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert ought to have a straightforward time dissecting that banged-up secondary, however with each Keenan Allen and Mike Williams lacking this recreation, it might come all the way down to Joshua Palmer, DeAndre Carter, and Gerald Everett to hold the L.A. passing assault. I don’t belief any of them to do critical harm.
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The Chargers’ speeding assault hasn’t been any higher. Whereas Austin Ekeler is without doubt one of the finest backs within the league, he hasn’t been very environment friendly as a ball provider. Rather, he’s accomplished most of his harm by way of the air. That stated, San Fran linebacker Fred Warner is without doubt one of the finest within the NFL at following the ball out of the backfield and making open-field tackles. Ekeler may very well be in for heavy utilization this recreation, however I wouldn’t count on him to get very far fairly often. May he break one or two performs for big good points/touchdowns? Positive, however the 49ers are among the finest groups within the NFL at defending performs out of the backfield.
In response to OddsChecker US, bettors disagree with my sentiment. Regardless of the betting line shifting within the 49ers’ favor over the course of the week — from +5.5 at opening to +7 in the present day — 65 p.c of moneyline bets have gone in favor of Los Angeles. That is the primary time since Week 3 of 2021 towards Kansas Metropolis that the Chargers have been a landing underdog or worse. Maybe that strong observe file is what’s pushing bettors towards the Bolts. Or maybe it’s the Chargers’ dominance over the 49ers within the twenty first century. L.A. has received 4 of its final 5 towards San Francisco. Nonetheless, previous outcomes don’t point out future outcomes. Brandon Staley wasn’t even the Chargers’ head coach the final time these two groups performed.
With an emphasis on brief passes, energy runs, and effectivity out of the backfield, the 49ers are arguably the worst group the Chargers might face all 12 months. May they win? Completely. That is the NFL, and anybody can win on any given day. Additionally, I’m by no means going to be 100% certain of a guess towards Justin Herbert, however by each measure conceivable, San Fran ought to win this recreation. Whereas bettors appear certain that seven factors are too many for the Chargers to lose by, I virtually consider a double-digit loss isn’t out of the query. Then once more, the 49ers have a knack for dropping video games they shouldn’t — simply ask the Bears and Falcons — so possibly I’m studying an excessive amount of into this. I doubt it although.