Los Angeles Chargers (4-3) at Atlanta Falcons (4-4)
Coming into the season, I thought the Chargers were one of the most talented teams in the league, but they have been arguably the most injury affected team in the league since then, with several key players missing extended time. While center Corey Linsley has returned, the Chargers will be without stud left tackle Rashawn Slater, their two talented wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Wallace, stud edge defender Joey Bosa, and expected #1 cornerback JC Jackson, among other lesser injuries.
The Chargers still have a 4-3 record, but their -25 point differential is significantly worse than their record and they are even worse in schedule adjusted efficiency, ranking 29th, 4.5 points below average. Missing the players they are currently missing, my roster rankings have them around the same spot, about four points below average. Despite that, the Chargers are favored by a full field goal on the road in Atlanta against a decent Falcons team.
The Falcons’ defense has struggled mightily this season, ranking 31st in schedule adjusted efficiency, and they are currently missing their top two cornerbacks Casey Hayward and AJ Terrell, but their offense ranks 4th in schedule adjusted efficiency and that is the more predictive side of the ball. The Falcons aren’t quite as good in my roster rankings, about a half point above average on offense and two points below average overall, but my calculated line still has them as 6-point home favorites over this overrated Chargers team, so we’re getting great line value with them as full field goal favorites. Atlanta +3 is my top pick this week and the money line is a great value as well.
Atlanta Falcons 26 Los Angeles Chargers 20 Upset Pick +130
Pick against the spread: Atlanta +3
Confidence: Pick of the Week