NFL Betting Free Pick: Los Angeles Chargers at Detroit Lions
NFL FREE PICK: Los Angeles Chargers at Detroit Lions
#264 UNDER 47.5 (Sunday, September 15 @ 1 pm EST)
The Lions had last week’s game in Arizona well in hand. With less than 12 minutes remaining in the game, Detroit led Arizona 24-6. The Lions defense pressured rookie Kyler Murray early and often and he looked lost on the field at times through three quarters. But the Cardinals did do one thing effectively, and that was how they wore out the Lions defense with their high-tempo attack over time. Detroit clearly was gassed in the fourth quarter and the pass rush dissipated. It didn’t help that the Lions dropped more guys into coverage and let Murray survey the field. I think this Lions defense could be a top five unit if they stay healthy. They were a top five defense in the second half of last season and added pass rusher Trey Flowers, who was one of the most coveted free agents in the offseason.
The Lions rely heavily on the ground game and that’s why they brought in run-first philosopher Darrell Bevell as offensive coordinator this year. He’s the perfect fit for head coach Matt Patricia’s “ground and pound” style. They’ve made it clear that they are going to win football games leaning on their defense and the running game. Quarterback Matt Stafford looked good in Week 1, but he never seemed comfortable in Patricia’s system last season and has been nursing a back injury for a year now.
The Chargers went wild against Indianapolis last week, averaging 7.4 yards per play behind a well-balanced attack. This is a dangerous offense, but they lost one of their big weapons in tight end Hunter Henry this week. Henry suffered a left knee injury and the nimble red zone target will be missed by Phillip Rivers. The Chargers offense also seemed to be slowing things down a bit last week compared to last year. They ran a play every 30.3 seconds last season, and last week there was 32.8 seconds between plays — nearly a 10% drop off. They aren’t going to be in a hurry like Arizona was last week and the Lions defense will appreciate that.
I see this one as a low-scoring affair where both teams lean on their talented defenses and run their methodical offenses. Play the UNDER.
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