NFL Handicapping: Eagles vs Chargers
Sunday, November 15th – Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego, CA – NFL Point Spread: Chargers -1, O/U: 47
The San Diego Chargers are playing their second consecutive game against an NFC East opponent. If this contest is anything like the Bolts’ 21-20 victory against the New York Giants, California football fans will be in for an exciting and entertaining affair.
Two 5-3 teams will lock horns on the West Coast, as the upward-trending Chargers, fresh from their act of grand larceny in New Jersey (they stole a win from the Giants on a last-minute touchdown pass by resurgent quarterback Philip Rivers), will try to win in more conventional fashion against a Philadelphia club that’s smarting after a home loss against the Dallas Cowboys. Neither one of these teams has been terribly consistent in 2009, but they’ve both been quite resilient. The Eagles overcame an injury to starting signal caller Donovan McNabb in week two, while the Chargers have won three straight after starting out 2-3 on the season.
NFL Handicapping: What The Eagles Have To Do To Win
Confuse Philip Rivers. The Chargers’ starting quarterback has to be overflowing with confidence after leading his team on an 80-yard touchdown drive in the final two minutes against the Super Bowl XLII champions. Rivers doesn’t have a fully intact offensive line, and decorated teammate LaDainian Tomlinson is far from his very best, but as long as Rivers has even a few seconds to look downfield, the North Carolina State product will likely make a surgical incision and cut apart an opposing secondary. Philadelphia’s defense played well enough to beat Dallas last week, but instructively, the Eagles couldn’t coax a turnover from the right arm of Tony Romo. If the visitors from Pennsylvania want to win on their trip to the California coast, they need to disguise their defensive looks and find a way to snag some interceptions. If Rivers isn’t operating at peak efficiency, San Diego doesn’t have other ways of winning games. The Eagles need to kill the Chargers at their strongest point, and that’s the quarterback position.
NFL Handicapping: What The Chargers Have To Do To Win
Contain the Eagles’ speedy receivers. One of the biggest reasons why Dallas went into Philadelphia and clipped the Eagles’ wings last Sunday was the Cowboys’ ability to take away the big play from receivers DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin. Philly coach Andy Reid has to love the fact that he has two speed demons on the edges, but against Dallas, Jackson and Maclin were held in check, limited to five combined receptions for a subpar total of 73 yards. One receiver should be hauling in 73 yards of passes in a game, but not two.
Philadelphia’s most productive receiver against Dallas was running back LeSean McCoy, who caught five balls for 61 yards. If San Diego’s defense, under coordinator Ron Rivera, can continue to force Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb to check down and settle for McCoy, one will be able to tell that the Chargers will have the game flowing in their direction…at least when the Eagles have the ball. A big-play game will favor the Eagles, but a dink-and-dunk contest will work to the Chargers’ advantage.
NFL Handicapping: Outlook & Pick
The Eagles have to be mad that they lost at home to Dallas, but there’s no point in crying about that game now. Philadelphia needs to bounce back at San Diego in order to keep pace with the front-running Cowboys. One has the sense that McNabb – who was very sloppy and ragged on Nov. 8 – will show his better side on Nov. 15. If he does, the visitors should fly high and prevent the Bolts from unleashing their own brand of lightning. The Eagles win an entertaining game defined by the big plays talked about above. DeSean Jackson will make his presence felt.
NFL Point Spread Pick: Eagles +1 & Over 47