Week 2: Lions vs Chargers Predictions

The Chargers visit the Lions this week. They appear formidable with a record of 12-4 last year while winning 9 of their last 10 regular season road games.

Last week’s Detroit Lions game was like biting into a rotten tomato and immediately spitting it out. The rancid taste lingered seemingly forever. Fortunately, the best mouthwash is a brand new week with a new game to break down.

Bruce Walker (@smoke25):

One thing to keep in mind, of the 12 playoff teams last year, seven lost their first game. Apparently, losing the opener does not completely crush the hope of a successful season.

Case in point: In 2001, after a disappointing 5-11 season the previous year, Bill Belichick lost the season opener to the Cincinnati Bengals 23-17. The media began the “hot seat” narrative, calling for his replacement because Belichick was obviously the wrong man for the job.

That talk died away a few months later when the Patriots won their first Super Bowl.

No matter what the aftertaste of last weeks outcome was like, however, a tie better than a loss. It is true that a tie is also not a win but as of this writing, the Chicago Bears are in last place in the NFC North, not the Detroit Lions, who—in third place—are one half game out of first place.

Before the season, most sports writers saw this game as an easy loss for Detroit, as the Chargers were a solid playoff team a year ago and return many of the same weapons.

Or had plans to.

Meanwhile, star running back Melvin Gordon is in the midst of a hold-out, hoping for a new contract. Derwin James, the Chargers Pro Bowl Safety, is out with a foot injury. Tight end Hunter Henry is out with reportedly a tibial plateau fracture of the knee. Corner Michael Davis was listed as questionable on Fridays injury report and receiver Mike Williams was listed as limited and may not play.

Six other players graced that same report, while the Lions listed a total of only four. One of those, corner Rashaan Melvin, appears likely to play as he was listed as a full participant on Friday.

Aside from health, there was a lot to like about the Lions first 47 minutes last week. Several mistakes scattered throughout the game eroded their ability to close out a win.

Los Angeles is favored to win by 1.5 to 2.5 points with the over/under generally set at around 47 points. I will take the over on this one. I also like the Lions, where they will show the ability to rebound from last week’s rustiness and put the taste from last week’s game fully in the rear-view mirror.

Detroit Lions 27 — Los Angeles Chargers 23

James Gullett (@Gullett_james):

The Lions are back at it and this time in front of their hometown faithful. Meanwhile, the Chargers are coming off an OT win but are decimated by injuries. At least four starters are supposed to be out due to injuries and/or contract negotiations. 

However, we have heard this story before — just last week in fact and we all know how that turned out.

The Chargers were short-handed in week 1 as well, but were still able to pull out the win against the Colts.

The thing that is funny about the Lions and Chargers is how similar they are in almost every way. Both teams have great QBs who are underrated, both QBs had over 300 yards and three TDs, and neither team was able to get a single player over 60 rushing yards in week one. Both rely on their defensive lines to put pressure on the QB — the Chargers with Bosa and Ingram and the Lions with Flowers and Kennard.

For all the reasons listed above, this is a hard game to predict. Each of the Lions tackles allowed seven pressures last week and the defensive ends of the Chargers are their strength. If Decker misses the game or has to play hurt, I don’t see how Stafford could have time to throw downfield. With the Lions offense handicapped in that way, they will have to lean on the run game that they could not get going last week. 

The same goes for the Chargers. Ekeler was a nonfactor in the run game but had a great game pass-catching out of the backfield. I don’t see the Chargers being able to get a ground game going against Snacks Harrison, Trey Flowers, and the rest of the Lions strong front.

This game is a straight up pick ’em in my opinion. When it’s all said and done, the smoke will settle and the Lions will stand tall and come out victorious. 

Detroit Lions 17 – Los Angeles Chargers 13

Logan Lamorandier (@llamorandier):

Last week was not a good look for the Lions. After appearing to be the more talented team for 3.5 quarters, the Lions looked gassed and conservative to end the game in Arizona.

On a positive note, the Chargers visit Detroit in one of those difficult time zone games. Los Angeles to Detroit is a three hour time difference and west coast teams have historically struggled in what would be a 10am game their time. That is a slight advantage in the Lions favor.

Also in Lions favor is the amount of key players the Chargers are missing — Melvin Gordon, Derwin James, Russell Okung and Hunter Henry to name a few.

Important to note, the Lions have a couple key players that could be missing as well. Left tackle, Taylor Decker, struggled mightily last week in pass protection and seems doubtful to play. Unfortunately, his backup, Tyrell Crosby, looked even worse in the preseason. I would say the Chargers defensive line is better than the Cardinals. After being the most pressured quarterback in week 1, Lions QB Matthew Stafford will likely be under plenty of duress against the Chargers as well. Finding a run game would go a long ways for Detroit.

In saying all of this, the Chargers still are still a good team with a good quarterback. The Lions defensive front will need to get to Rivers early and often. Defensive end Trey Flowers had a sub-par performance in his Lions debut (against one of the worse offensive lines in the league) and will need to live up to his price tag.

Overall, I think the game will be close, but it will come down to who can get the most pressure on the quarterback. I think that team will be the Chargers.

Detroit Lions 23 – Los Angeles Chargers 27

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