The Los Angeles Chargers opened October with a Monday night home win over the Las Vegas Raiders and the AFC West Division appeared to open for them like the parting of the Red Sea. They had a franchise quarterback with Justin Herbert, a new head coach in Brandon Staley that seemed to be riding a wave of success and a division that was crumbling all around them.
The Kansas City Chiefs, who have run away from this division in recent seasons like the automatic rabbit in a dog race, were showing cracks in their armour. The Denver Broncos had won their first three games against weak teams but were getting drilled when the competition level was raised. And the Raiders, who came into the Monday night contest against the Chargers five weeks ago with a one game lead in the AFC West Division, were beaten and caught in the standings with the Chargers holding the tiebreaker based on their straight-up victory.
The week after beating Las Vegas, the Chargers got into a scoring battle with the Cleveland Browns and came out on top, 47-42, while on the same day the Raiders were crushed at home by the Chicago Bears.
Alone in first place and off to Baltimore for a showdown with the Ravens.
End of sweet time in LA.
The Chargers were hammered by John Harbaugh’s team, 34-6, and headed into their bye week in a tie with the Raiders, who beat the Denver Broncos in the same week they lost head coach Jon Gurden and Los Angeles was crushed in Baltimore.
While the Chargers were on their bye week they lost possession of first place in their division when the Raiders won their fifth game in seven decisions with a 33-22 triumph over the Philadelphia Eagles. Last week, while the Raiders were on their bye week, the Chargers got beat at home by the New England Patriots.
Where does that leave the Chargers headed into the ninth week of NFL play?
Looking up in their division standings and trying to figure out how their defense has suddenly turned into a thoroughfare for opposing offenses. In their last three games, the Chargers have surrendered 103 points after giving up only 74 total points in their first four contests. They also did something else that good teams “never” do, they lost both games on each side of their bye.
This week, the Chargers head east to meet an Eagles team that has played like Jekyll and Hyde all year long. Philadelphia opened the season with a 32-6 road triumph and then lost three straight games of which two were played on their home field. They were good enough to hang tough against the talented Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 28-22, bad enough to get crushed in Las Vegas two weeks ago only to recover with a 44-6 triumph last Sunday against the still winless Detroit Lions.
In other words, we have two teams in the Chargers and Eagles that can win or lose on any given day. Which from a motivational perspective are the best kind of teams to predict.
The Chargers confidence following their high scoring victory against the Cleveland Browns four weeks ago, has been supplanted by a fear that this season could turn sour in a hurry. And the Eagles, who scored their highest road point total last week in Detroit since 2013, when they tallied 49 in Oakland, are looking forward to the prospect of winning back-to-back games for the first time this season.
The books installed the Chargers, in search of their first win since October 10th, as a road favorite. The public sees value in the Eagles. That’s because they are looking at recent results as likely to repeat whereas I see previous scores more likely leading to a Chargers win this Sunday.
Qoxhi Picks: Los Angeles Chargers (-2) over the Philadelphia Eagles