The Los Angeles Chargers are an excellent soccer staff. 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 bought waived — the Chargers have performed their approach to a 5-3 report 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 appears to be like 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’ report is best than their precise efficiency, however reasonably as a result of the 49ers match up phenomenally properly.
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 properly at stopping the run because the NFL does at implementing roughing the passer. The offseason addition of Khalil Mack was purported to mitigate this downside, since Mack had been probably the greatest edge defenders in opposition to 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 staff within the NFL (5.7). They’re second within the NFL in EPA allowed per rush play as properly, solely forward of the Cleveland Browns in that division.
Now, the Niners haven’t been an elite dashing staff this yr. Actually, they’ve been beneath common when it comes to each EPA and complete yards, however make no mistake, the 49ers’ id is as a run-heavy staff, and with Christian McCaffrey suiting up for his third sport with the staff, San Fran’s dashing assault may very well be an excessive amount of for the Chargers to deal with, even with the absence of left sort out 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 a substitute suffered a season-ending Achilles injury in observe 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 missing this game, it may come right 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 severe injury.
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The Chargers’ dashing assault hasn’t been any higher. Whereas Austin Ekeler is without doubt one of the greatest backs within the league, he hasn’t been very environment friendly as a ball service. Rather, he’s accomplished most of his injury by the air. That stated, San Fran linebacker Fred Warner is without doubt one of the greatest 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 sport, however I wouldn’t anticipate him to get very far fairly often. Might he break one or two performs for giant features/touchdowns? Positive, however the 49ers are probably the greatest groups within the NFL at defending performs out of the backfield.
In accordance with 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 as we speak — 65 p.c of moneyline bets have gone in favor of Los Angeles. That is the primary time since Week 3 of 2021 in opposition to Kansas Metropolis that the Chargers have been a landing underdog or worse. Maybe that strong observe report 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 in opposition to 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 quick passes, energy runs, and effectivity out of the backfield, the 49ers are arguably the worst staff the Chargers may face all yr. Might 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 wager in opposition to Justin Herbert, however by each measure conceivable, San Fran ought to win this sport. Whereas bettors appear certain that seven factors are too many for the Chargers to lose by, I virtually imagine 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.