NFL Betting Favorite: Chargers -3 (+100)
The San Diego Chargers were expected to dominate the AFC West last year, but they went just 9-7 and missed the playoffs. The Arizona Cardinals were a disaster last season as they went from quarterback to quarterback looking for someone to give them decent production. Both teams have made some nice pickups in the offseason, but the Chargers are definitely the team with higher expectations. Who will come out on top in this preseason tilt?
How could a team possibly finish first in the NFL in total offense and total defense without making the NFL playoffs? The Chargers managed to do exactly that last season. What was the primary reason? Horrific special teams play absolutely crushed the Chargers on a weekly basis. It’s hard to imagine a special teams unit playing worse than San Diego did last year. Untimely turnovers were a problem for this team last season as well. Vincent Jackson will be back in action this year, and that will be huge for this offense. Phillip Rivers has established himself as one of the NFL’s top five quarterbacks. Ryan Matthews appears to have the stuff to be a star, and the Chargers will need him to stay healthy. Cory Liuget and Takeo Spikes were two big offseason acquisitions for the defense.
Arizona made a big splash when they went out and got Kevin Kolb. Kolb is now firmly entrenched as their starting quarterback. Larry Fitzgerald is still one of the best receivers in the league, and now he has someone who can get him the ball on a consistent basis. Todd Heap is certainly past his prime, but he could the Cardinals offense as well. Arizona absolutely needs a big season from running back Chris Wells. Wells has a lot of potential, but he has yet to realize that potential in the NFL. The biggest problem for the Cardinals offense will likely be the offensive line. This is a unit that has been dominated for the last couple years. If they don’t improve this season, the Cardinals will likely struggle offensively once again. Arizona drafted Patrick Peterson, who I think could turn out to be the best player in this year’s draft. This Cardinals defense isn’t that bad, but they need the offense to pick up some first downs and keep them off the field more often.
Both of these teams are 1-1 in the preseason thus far. Week three of the preseason is typically the week where most teams keep their starters in the longest. Since we’ll likely see the first teamers for quite a while here, I like the Chargers to cover the spread.
Free NFL Pick: Chargers -3
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