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San Diego Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles: Preview and Pick
San Diego Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles: Preview and Pick
In week two of the National Football league, one game will feature two teams that are on short weeks. Both the San Diego Chargers and the Philadelphia Eagles both played on Monday Night Football and will have a quick turnaround and not as much time to get ready for this week’s matchup.
San Diego Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles Odds
After a high octane and quick paced scoring attack on full display on a nationally televised game, the betting line for this game opened up with the Eagles listed as (-7) point favorites. This line has continued to move towards the Eagles and can now be found at (-7.5) at some of the top rated sportsbooks. Although the line is moving in favor of the Eagles, the betting public is not buying into it as over 70 percent of the early betting returns by the public favor the road team in this contest.
The Philadelphia Eagles showed that under new coach Chip Kelly that they will be fun to watch. The new offense established by Kelly is obviously being well received by Michael Vick and the other Eagles. The Eagles had 53 plays on the offense and LeSean McCoy ran so well he led the league in rushing before the half. This offense will be tough for any team to stop and next up to try will be the Chargers.
The Chargers lost to the Houston Texans on Monday Night Football in a very demoralizing loss. Quarterback Phillip Rivers led the Chargers in a scoring attack that built a double digit lead, but they were not able to hold it. Rivers said he felt sick after the loss and this team will have to try and rebound quickly if they hope to avoid starting the season 0-2.
The NFL betting trends reveal some interesting angles against the spread (ATS) for this game. The Eagles are 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 games when playing on Sunday following a Monday night game, 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game and 6-19-1 ATS in their last 26 home games.
The Chargers are 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in their previous game, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games following a loss but 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 250 yards passing in their previous game.
San Diego Chargers at Philadelphia Eagles Pick
With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.
Chargers nose tackle Cam Thomas and defensive end Kendall Reyes never played more defensive snaps in an NFL game than they did Monday night. The only time defensive end Corey Liuget saw a heavier workload than he did Monday was last year in a game that lasted nearly 14 overtime minutes.
A depth shortage has the Chargers relying on their starting defensive line more than usual. While that alone could prove problematic, compounding the matter is the matchup that awaits Sunday.
San Diego returns to practice Wednesday on a short week, looking to shake off a 24-point second-half collapse to the Texans. On Friday afternoon, the team travels to Philadelphia where the Eagles have, in one week, established themselves as having the league's fastest-tempo offense under coach Chip Kelly.
The Chargers cannot afford to continue their late-game struggles from Monday night — not against this opponent.
Their offense put the defense in a bind. After an 80-yard touchdown drive to begin the second half, the unit gained 9 yards the rest of the game. It had zero first downs on five possessions, four of which ended in a punt. The other drive ended on an interception returned for a touchdown.
Meanwhile, the defense didn't help its cause. It allowed the Texans to convert four of eight third downs, including ones from 18 and 13 yards, as well as a fourth-down punt fake. Houston controlled the clock, owning a 20:12 to 5:30 advantage to close the game. In those 20 minutes, according to Pro Football Focus, Thomas played 32 of his career-high 52 snaps, Reyes saw 30 of his career-high 57, and Liuget played 29 of his 57. Reserve defensive end Jarius Wynn took 10 snaps in that same span. Reserve nose tackle Kwame Geathers had six.
Coach Mike McCoy said Tuesday he didn't want to use the term "gassed" to describe his defense at the game's completion. “But when offensively you only have so many plays and the defense is out there, that’s what is going to happen," McCoy said. "The time of possession for us was about (23) minutes for the game, and the majority of that was flipped in the second half. When you do that and go three-and-out, the defense is going to get tired. ... We have to stop teams and move the ball. We have to do a better job of executing on offense, defense and special teams."
Against the Redskins on Monday, Philadelphia ran more plays at halftime, 53, than the Chargers would their entire game. The number of first-half plays was the most since the Vikings ran 56 against the Ravens on Dec. 13, 1998, per Elias Sports Bureau.
San Diego may still try to get the most from its starters, but the ideal makeup of a defensive line is a rotation. Backup defensive end Damik Scafe was expected to be part of it before he suffered a season-ending foot injury last month against the Cardinals.
So, this is an important practice week for Chargers reserve defensive ends Sean Lissemore and Drake Nevis. They joined the team about a week before Monday's opener, Lissemore in a trade with Dallas and Nevis off waivers from the Colts. They must continue to learn the defense.
Lissemore played three snaps on defense Monday, all in the first half. Nevis was a healthy scratch.
Just as important as the tiring effect of the Eagles up-tempo offense on the stamina of opposing defenses is the taxing effect it takes on their mentally. As play after play is thrown at the defense, the thought is that the Eagles can create mental mistakes for the opposition. That is especially the case when the Eagles employ certain exotic formations amid the chaos of speed.
"I think the more stuff you can show opposing defenses to kind of get some confusion out there, the better it will be," right tackle Lane Johnson said. "We did some different looks and caught (the Redskins) off guard, so I think that helped us. I think it's more just to confuse the defense, give them something they haven't seen and see if they can adjust to it or not."
With all the talk of how fast and devastating the Eagles' offense was against the Redskins, another facet that contributed to its effectiveness has flown under the radar. Numerous times throughout the game, the offensive line went to an unbalanced look with linemen lining up at different positions, creating problems for the defense.
"It's an unbalanced look," said left guard Evan Mathis. "Instead of having a tight end on one side, you have two tackles. It's just something different, a different look to do. You can do many things out of that formation. "It gives (the defense) something else they have to practice and prepare against. It can help create stronger double teams at the point of attack if we're running that way since we have two tackle and a guard on the same side."
On LeSean McCoy's 34-yard touchdown run to start the third quarter, the Eagles came out with a "tackle over" formation that had offensive tackle Jason Peters and tight end Brent Celek flip spots, which made for the following unbalanced configuration (from left to right): Peters, Lane Johnson, Evan Mathis, Jason Kelce (center), Todd Herremans, Celek. In effect, Kelce lined up and snapped the ball from the right guard position, and there were favorable blocking matchups across the board.
1) The Chargers' #1 WR is Malcom Floyd, who is 6'5. Floyd's numbers over the last 4 years are OK, but certainly not anything close to what you would consider "#1 WR type production." He's a player that provided quality #2 type production when he was 2nd fiddle to Vincent Jackson, who is now in Tampa.
Bradley Fletcher sustained a concussion against the Redskins. If Fletcher cannot go on Sunday, 5'9 Brandon Boykin will play on the outside. Boykin said that the Eagles have no plans to try to avoid having him cover Floyd, who he would be giving up 9 inches to. It will be an interesting test for Boykin, but it's not as if he's going up against Calvin Johnson.
2) Keep an eye on ex-Colt Dwight Freeney, who now plays with the Chargers. He was excellent Monday night against the Texans, working against a really good LT in Duane Brown. While he primarily lined up on the right side of the Chargers' defense, he did get some chances on the left side as well. It will be interesting to see if the Chargers want the wily vet to work on rookie RT Lane Johnson instead of his traditional spot against the LT.
3) How prepared can the Chargers be from an X's and O's standpoint? Jim Haslett and the Redskins watched Oregon tape for months in preparation for Chip Kelly's offense. The Chargers are unlikely to expend those kinds of resources for a team they play once every four years.
4) After one week, the Chargers are ranked 27th in offense an 28th on defense. On the Chargers' final 5 drives last week, they ran 13 plays. They got 10 yards, no first downs, and gave up a pick 6. They blew a 21 point lead, and now have to fly to the East coast for a 1pm game. How well will the Chargers respond to their choke job? There actually is some precedence here. Last season, the Chargers blew a 24-0 lead against Denver. The following week, the Chargers lost 7-6 to the Browns.
5) During the offseason, a bunch of football nerds got together and held a draft in which they selected players around the league like they were building their own franchise. It was a pretty interesting exercise. Within that draft, Phillip Rivers was the 18th QB taken. Ryan Mathews was the 26th RB taken. Malcom Floyd wasn't drafted. Antonio Gates was the 13th TE taken. What's the point of noting this? The Chargers' skill position players are crap.
The Eagles shocked the football world with a big win on MNF. The public noticed and the line shot up. Shot up so much the value is going in the other direction. However it is the Bolts and they are going across the country so I can't back them.