The Packers-Chargers game is a study in two teams going in different directions. That is why with my One Bet, $100 I will be taking Green Bay and giving away 3.5 points.
Last week I took the under in the Denver-Indianapolis game and covered easily. This week I’m equally confident about the Packers-Chargers game.
Here’s my rationale:
Green Bay is atop the NFC North, a game clear of Minnesota. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers looks like an MVP candidate. Running back Aaron Jones is turning into the one of the league’s stars.
One Bet, $100
This Week’s Pick Last Week’s Result Season Total
Packers -6 Won Under Indy/Denver 5-3, Up $180
Los Angeles, meanwhile, looks like a train wreck. The Chargers just fired their offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhut, which might be a survival move by head coach Anthony Lynn to try and keep his own job.
As a team, the Packers defeated playoff-bound Kansas City on the road last Sunday night. The Chargers, by contrast, struggled against the middling Chicago Bears, and won only because Eddy Pineiro missed a field goal as time expired.
Packers-Chargers Trench Warfare
One reason Rodgers is having such a productive year for Green Bay is the play of his offensive line. Bit their assignment this week might be one of the toughest they face all year.
For the Chargers, defensive linemen Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram have eight sacks collectively, and left tackle David Bakhtiari told Packers.com that he and right tackle Bryan Bulaga will have their hands full.
“Again, another test for Bryan and I,” Bakhtiari said. “I feel like every week it’s some sort of duo. I think maybe that’s what the league is going to. Everyone’s got a duo of pass rushers. But we’ll be ready as always, prepared, and out there to do our brand of football.”
Jones Key to Success
The Chargers are 12th overall in team defense, but sixth against the pass. They are 23rd, however, in run defense. That is where Jones will be able to make a difference.
The third year running back is 15th in the league in rushing with 466 yards. Where he has been invaluable is catching balls out of the backfield. He has three receiving touchdowns in the last two games.
Rodgers told NBC Sports after Sunday night’s victory how special Jones is to the team.
“He’s a special guy,” Rodgers said. “He’s great in the locker room, he’s a great young leader, and he’s a fantastic player. He does everything the right way. He doesn’t have an ego and he’s just a hell of a player. I’m glad we have him on our team.”
Especially with wide receiver Davante Adams out since midway through the fourth game of the season. The Packers’ focal point on offense suffered turf toe, but he may be returning against the Chargers, much to the delight of Rodgers.
“He’s gonna get attention for sure when he’s out there,” Rodgers said. “It’s not like the ball is gonna naturally go to him 15-20 times a game. I mean it will if he’s open, but you would expect them to go back to trying to double him up and lock him down which gives opportunities for other guys.”
Why the Packers Will Cover
The Packers are simply a better team than the Chargers. They have more offensive weapons, and Rodgers is running an effective offense. It is true that Los Angeles could get into a shootout with Green Bay, but the Packers proved last week against the Chiefs, a much stronger team, that they can prevail if this becomes a pass-happy contest.
The Chargers fired their offensive coordinator, and it might take a game for the new guy to acclimate to the system, even though he is already part of the organization.
Rodgers and company should win this by at least 10 points.