Don’t look now, but the Chargers are pulling off one of their late season surges that lead them to a surprising playoff spot. This year, the LA Chargers started off 0-4 before winning 6 of 8 games and earning a share of the AFC West top spot. With a win, the Chargers would be above .500 for the first time since 2015 and poised for a divisional crown. Washington is pretty much eliminated from any realistic playoff chances. The danger lies in the fact that they’re 2-0 on the West Coast this year. Kickoff inside the StubHub Center is at 4:05 PM ET.
These two teams haven’t played each other since Washington defeated the Chargers 30-24 in 2013. The last time the Chargers hosted Washington was in 2009. This will be the 11th time these two teams have played against each other with Washington holding a 7-3 record all-time against the Chargers.
Washington (5-7) is 2-4 on the road, but their 2 road wins came at the Rams and at the Seahawks. Washington is virtually eliminated from the playoffs after losing 3 out of their last 4 games. You can directly attribute that to a season marred by injuries. Their offensive line has had 23 different starting lineups due to all of the injuries. That is bad news for Washington as they will face the scariest pass rush in the league this weekend.
The Chargers (6-6) are 3-3 at home and have won 3 straight games. They get another weakened opponent at just the right time, which should improve their chances of winning. If San Diego can win out, they will take the division and pull off a miraculous turnaround. That all starts this weekend at home versus Washington.
The spread opened with the Chargers favored by 6.5 points and the Over/Under opened at 46 total points. The spread has come down a ½ point to 6 and the Over/Under remains unchanged.
As far as I’m concerned, this game is LA’s to lose. They have more to play for and look like the better team especially with Washington suffering from all of those injuries. Although Washington’s QB Kirk Cousins is playing solid football, he won’t be able to win this game for his team. On the season, Cousins has 3,289 passing yards, 21 TDs and 8 INTs. When the offense can muster up a running game, Washington is more dangerous. Unfortunately, they go up against a great pass defense this weekend and a ferocious pass rush. I believe they are in trouble!
During their 3 game win streak, LA has won 101-40. They completely demolished the Bills and Cowboys with impressive defensive efforts. Last weekend, they played uninspired football against the Browns and still won 19-10. This weekend, they are focused on Washington and realize that every win matters if they want to make the playoffs.
Washington allows 26.2 ppg and 238 passing ypg. With an inconsistent run game, the Chargers have had to rely on Rivers to play lights out. And, he has over the last 3 weeks. This week, I expect him to continue playing well and putting the offense on his shoulders as he leads them to victory. I expect Rivers to throw for nearly 300 yards and 3 TDs. The run game, which averages only 93.3 ypg, will pick up some scraps and get into the endzone at least once this game. But, it won’t be the reason that the Chargers offense moves the chains.
Washington won’t be able to stop the Chargers pass rush with Ingram and Bosa. Additionally, LA’s secondary will be able to handle the Washington receivers easily, which will allow the defense to stack the box and stop the running game with Perine. The rookie running back has come on strong over the last month due to injuries to the RB’s ahead of him on the depth chart. But, he will get bottled up early, the team will fall behind and be forced to abandon the running game.
This is where I believe LA will win the game. Once they put up a few scores, and shut down the Washington offense, the Chargers will come after Cousins all day long and smother any hopes of scoring. I see another performance from Washington like they did in their 38-14 loss to Dallas last week. Rivers and that defense will be too much for Washington to handle. Look for the Chargers to pull away at home 27-16.
Washington is 3-6 ATS in their last 9 games, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games on grass, and 2-3-1 ATS in their last 6 games against the Chargers. LA is 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games.