San Diego Chargers
(3-5, 3-5 ATS)
(4-3, 3-4 ATS)
Last weekend, the San Diego Chargers broke out of their shells and knocked off the Tennessee Titans. Now, most NFL betting aficionados are thinking that this is the beginning of a big thing. The contrarians believe that the Houston Texans are going to stand in their way and knock them back to earth.
This is just about the time of year that the Chargers usually kick it into gear, and there is a lot of reason to believe that they have the better team in this game. QB Philip Rivers is going to try to take advantage of a defense that ranks dead last in both total defense and pass defense. Rivers conceivably could become the first man to reach the 3,000 yard passing barrier this week, as he has 2,649 yards and 15 scores on the season. TE Antonio Gates is having an amazing year and certainly has yet another trip to the Pro Bowl already lined up. He has 40 catches for 663 yards and nine TDs. WR Malcom Floyd can stretch the field, as he is averaging 21.4 yards per reception and would probably destroy the Houston secondary. The problem here is that both players are listed as questionable this week. Over the last three weeks, we have seen WR Patrick Crayton emerge. He has 17 receptions for 245 yards in these three games. Defensively, the Bolts rank No. 1 in the league in total yards at 260.0 per game, and LB Shaun Phillips has a fantastic season in the works with seven sacks.
The Texans are going to be up against it this week once again, but if they are going to be a playoff team for the first time in team history, they badly need to figure out how to win games like this, particularly at home. QB Matt Schaub looked absolutely lost last week against the Indianapolis Colts on the road, and if he gets pressured in the pocket once again this week by the Chargers, he’s going to be in a lot of trouble. RB Arian Foster is the only man that can really slow down opposing offenses, as we know that no one on the defense is good enough to do that. Foster had another 100 yard rushing game last week on Monday Night Football, and he now has 737 yards and eight TDs on the season. The offense as a whole has been hit or miss. In three losses, the Texans haven’t scored more than 17 points. In four wins, they have scored at least 30. Defensively though, every single foe has put at least 24 on the board, while the L/3 foes have all scored at least 30.
This is another ugly spot for the Texans. The Chargers rank No. 1 in the league in both offense and defense, and they finally look like they have some things going. The secondary is going to get torched in a bad way in all likelihood, especially on a short week of preparation, and if there is no stopping Rivers, there’s no stopping the Bolts.
NFL Free Pick: San Diego Chargers -2.5