Detroit Lions @ Los Angeles Chargers – Football & Racing News – Star Sports

Week 10 slate. Detroit enter this game off their Week 9 bye, potentially getting healthier and looking to finish the second half of the season strong and win their division for the first time since 1993.

The Chargers are playing on a short week after their dismantling of Zach Wilson and the Jets on Monday night and it has to be highlighted that the way this game is scheduled is quite a strange one, with one team, the Chargers playing on short rest after a Monday night game and Detroit having extra rest from its bye week.

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At 6-2 the Lions go into this game with the second best record in the NFC, having become an offensive monster averaging 390.6 yards per game, second only to the Dolphins (435.3) and they are averaging 6.6 yards per play on first down, third in the NFL. Here they come up against the Chargers who are allowing 6.5 yards per play on first down, 31st in the league. 7.4% of the Detroit plays have gained 20 or more yards, third in the league, so it’s not hard to see that the Chargers defence will be under pressure here.

The Chargers offence isn’t one far behind the Lions though and the game does shape up as one with plenty of back-and-forth and it’s hardly a surprise that in the starsports.bet specials market “Highest Scoring match on Sunday” that this contest is favourite at 100-30 and this game along with the Commanders/Seahawks matchup at 11-2 are the two that stand out.

Lions QB Jared Goff returns to Los Angeles where he started his career with the Rams before being jettisoned to the Lions but to be fair to him he’s a rejuvenated character and in control of an offence that can and does score points at will when the mood takes them. Much of the credit for the offence will go to Goff but offensive coordinator Ben Johnson should also take plenty of plaudits and he’ll be a surefire head coaching candidate in the next few years. Much is made of Goff’s travails on the road but here he’ll face a Chargers defence that play plays plenty of zone coverage and against that sort coverage Goff’s 100.5 rating is second in the NFL. 11 of his 12 touchdown passes have come against zone coverage. Operating behind a very effective and solid offensive line Goff has been well protected and the elite play up front has undoubtedly played a huge role in unlocking what may be the most impressive play of his career so far this season.

The tone set by the offensive line gives the run game plenty of scope and with David Montgomery back from his rib injury head coach Dan Campbell will have to work out how he splits the carries and usage between Montgomery and Jahmyr Gibbs who has handled the majority of the running back work whilst Montgomery was out. Montgomery is more the between the tackles runner with Gibbs the change of pace back who will be used more in the passing game. The Chargers have surrendered the NFL’s second-most catches (58) and second-most receiving yards (426) to enemy backs, suggesting Week 10’s matchup favours Gibbs. This will be the first time that the duo have been able to start together since Week 4. Gibbs has been excellent the past two weeks and it may be tough to completely put him on the back burner again. In the last game, these two played together, Gibbs only had 26.1% of the touches, but we could see nearer a 50/50 split here. Montgomery is still likely to get the goal line work though, Gibbs has just one touch inside of the 5-yard line this season. All of that would make the 5-6 about Montgomery scoring a TD more attractive than the 21-20 on Gibbs to score that is available with starsports.bet.

The Chargers defence has been inconsistent this year despite having many big names in its ranks. Los Angeles has looked solid defensively the last two weeks against the Bears and Jets, but the Lions should feel confident about their ability to move the ball and score points in this matchup and the Chargers are facing a far better offence and quarterback in Goff than they did in those two games. The Chargers can and do via their zone-heavy defensive scheme give up a lot of big plays and that should be music to the ears of the likes of Lions WR Amon-Ra St. Brown and TE Sam LaPorta. St. Brown is particularly effective against this type of coverage and he has had 100 yards or a touchdown in all seven of his games this season while the Chargers have yielded the league’s seventh-most receiving yards (1,530) to opposing wide receivers. LaPorta also find himself with a plus sized match up with the Chargers having allowed 8.2 yards per target (29th) and a 79.1% catch rate (29th) to tight ends, alongside having allowed the league’s fourth-most receptions (53) and third-most yards (552) to LaPorta’s position. LaPorta enters Week 10 ranked No. 4 in the NFL in targets, No. 4 in catches (43), No. 5 in yards (434), and No. 3 in touchdowns (4) among tight ends.

The Chargers look like a team that has undergone a transformation over the past couple of weeks playing far better defence than usual albeit against weak quarterbacks/offences and looking quite meek on offence. There has also been not hint of snatching a defeat from the jaws of victory as has been so been the case with Brandon Staley teams. That could all change this week though as for one they meet a far better offence and will have to keep pace with the Lions high-powered offence.

There are two ways of looking at the Chargers offence on Monday night, the first is that they didn’t have to do much because they didn’t have to against the terrible Jets offence or you could take the opposite view and that they found it hard to break down an excellent Jets defence. All of that meant that Chargers QB Justin Herbert had just 136 yards passing on 30 attempts but this surely shapes up like a more normal Chargers game and they will have to revert to type and will mean lots of attempts and passing yards from Herbert if the Chargers are to be in with a chance of taking their record to 5-4. The Lions shut down the Raiders in their last game before the bye, but they allowed Lamar Jackson to complete 21-of-27 passes for 357 yards a week before that. You can pass on Detroit even if the defence is improved from 2022 levels. In a game where passing levels look likely to be elevated then both Herbert 8-1 and Goff 6-1 would be worth a second glance in the starsports.bet specials market “Most Passing Yards on Sunday”. That pair along with the Commanders Sam Howell (17-2) in a very pass driven offence are the trio that take the eye at the prices in that particular specials offering.

The Lions have been stout on the ground this year with only the Ravens breaking the 100 yard barrier and that may make life tough for main Chargers RB Austin Ekeler on the ground. Ekeler will get touches near the goal line though and it should not be forgotten that Ekeler has led the league in all-purpose touchdowns over the last two seasons (38) and has already had 12 touches inside the opponent’s 10-yard line through five games this year.

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The Chargers passing game received a significant blow when WR Mike Williams was lost for the season through injury as it removed the deep threat that he carried. Detroit have been very good at preventing explosive plays from their opponents so a pass-heavy game plan from the Chargers that heavily involves WR Keenan Allen and Ekeler out of the backfield in the short-to-intermediate areas of the field seems like the most likely approach that they will take. On passes from Herbert, Allen has secured 39 more than any other Charger and gained 343 more receiving yards than his next-closest teammate and this spot on Sunday looks one that should see him build and even improve on that usage due to the likely game script.

The Chargers plus-9 turnover margin is tied with the Bengals for the best in NFL. They have played 11 straight games without losing the turnover battle, the longest active streak in the NFL and their longest streak since 2004 (14 straight). If they can maintain that streak on Sunday they will have a chance in this game but crucially much will rest on their ability to keep pace with the Lions who are expected to put points on the board. This game has the potential to live up to its hype as the highest under/over on the main Sunday slate, but that will rely on the Chargers contributing points against a Lions offence which is almost certain to keep their half of the scoring bargain.

ANDY RICHMOND

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Author: Eugene Morris