Los Angeles Chargers (1-1) at Los Angeles Rams (2-0)
This game features the crosstown Chargers and Rams for the first time in their new city in Los Angeles. The Rams are technically the home team, but this is not a true road game for the Chargers because they don’t have to travel. In fact, considering the Chargers have no fans, they are used to playing in Los Angeles in front of mostly opposing fans, so this game is much more similar to a home game for the Chargers than a road game.
Despite that, the Rams are favored by a touchdown over the Chargers. The Rams are obviously one of the more talented teams in the league, but they’ve had a pretty easy schedule so far, as both the Raiders and Cardinals are mediocre at best. It remains to be seen if they can beat quality teams like the Chargers by more than a touchdown, especially since the Chargers rarely lose by large margins. In fact, just 11 of their 31 losses since 2015 have come by more than a touchdown and 5 of those losses came against the Chiefs, who seem to have their number.
The Chiefs beat the Chargers in Los Angeles week 1 by 10 points, but the Chargers actually won the first down rate battle by 6.83% in that game, picking up 33 first downs to 19 for the Chiefs. The Chiefs won as a result of a +2 turnover margin and several big plays (including a long punt return touchdown), but that’s not the most sustainable way to win (or lose) games.
On the season, the Chargers rank 3rd in first down rate differential at +10.77%, just behind the Rams who rank first. The Rams are also in a tough spot because they have to turn around and play Minnesota in 4 days on Thursday Night Football. Favorites are just 47-67 ATS before Thursday Night Football since 2012. I’d be a lot more confident in the Chargers if they had a healthy Joey Bosa, but I like their chances of keeping this one close.
Los Angeles Rams 23 Los Angeles Chargers 20
Pick against the spread: LA Chargers +7