The Green Bay Packers look to stay ahead of the rest of the NFC North when they travel to the West Coast to take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. Green Bay enters the game with a 7-1 record, which was only one game better than second-place Minnesota heading into the weekend.
The Chargers were hoping to be battling for the AFC West lead by this point of the season, but it’s been a disappointing campaign for coach Anthony Lynn’s crew. Los Angeles is third in the division standings with a 3-5 mark, and the team just fired offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt this week, putting the offensive play-calling duties in quarterbacks coach Shane Steichen’s hands.
The moneyline for this contest has the Green Bay Packers -200 and the Los Angeles Chargers +175. Green Bay is favored by four points on the road, while the over/under for the game has been set at 50.
Green Bay continues to put together winning performances despite a number of injuries. Wide receiver Davante Adams is questionable for this game, having sat out the last four games with a toe injury. Being without his top receiver hasn’t slowed down Aaron Rodgers, though, as the veteran has already passed for 2,324 yards and 16 touchdowns this season. He’s been helped by the emergence of running back Aaron Jones, who has rushed for 466 yards and eight scores this season.
The Packers defense has been stronger this season, though they have allowed at least 22 points in each of the last five games after starting the season with three straight games of opponents scoring 16 or fewer. The linebacker combo of Za’Darius Smith and Preston Smith have provided a solid pass rush, with each of them ranking in the league’s top 10 with eight and seven sacks, respectively. Fellow linebacker Blake Martinez has been very active as well, ranking second in the league with 83 tackles on the season.
Reversal Of Fortune
The Chargers always seem to be in close games, but for the most part this season, they’ve been on the losing end of those battles, with all five of their losses being by seven points or fewer. Last week, Los Angeles was the team catching the breaks, coming from behind in the fourth quarter and hanging on for the win thanks to a fumble by Chicago quarterback Mitch Trubisky and a missed field-goal attempt on the game’s final play by Eddy Pineiro.
Tom Brady isn’t the only “old man” putting up good numbers this season, as 37-year-old Philip Rivers is third in the league with 2,315 passing yards (just nine fewer than Rodgers) to go with 12 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Keenan Allen has been his favorite target, with 51 receptions for 617 yards and three touchdowns. Turnovers have been a problem for Los Angeles, as it ranks 23rd in turnover margin at minus-3 due to just 10 takeaways.
Packers Win Shootout
If the Chargers want to get back into the postseason, they need to turn it on in a hurry. Last week’s win wasn’t pretty, but it certainly helped their chances, especially since they now sit just two games behind first-place Kansas City. Unfortunately, they’re taking on one of the best teams in the NFL in Green Bay, which will likely be playing in the West Coast version of Lambeau Field for the number of fans they’ll have at this one. Los Angeles puts up a good fight, but I’m taking Green Bay -4 to get the win.