The Eagles survived a rollercoaster battle with the division rival Giants to win their home opener 27-24 and move to 2-1 on the season. After squandering a 14-0 third quarter lead in a matter of minutes in the fourth quarter, Philadelphia rallied back to tie on rookie Corey Clement’s touchdown run. The teams traded field goals, and the game ended in stunning fashion with rookie Jake Elliott’s 61-yard field goal just crawling over the crossbar. Philadelphia enjoyed a strong rushing performance, racking up 193 yards on the ground.
After two close losses to start the season, the Chargers appeared listless in a 24-10 home defeat at the hands of the Chiefs. The offense moved the ball effectively at times, with Melvin Gordon racking up 79 yards rushing and a touchdown, but they were hampered by three costly Philip Rivers interceptions. The defense kept the passing game in front of them and Melvin Ingram led a withering pass rush, but they couldn‘t hold down rookie running back Kareem Hunt, whose long, late touchdown run sealed the game.
A new approach?
After an early injury to Darren Sproles in the win over the Giants, it might have seemed like the perfect time for coach Doug Pederson to dump the run and go pass-heavy for the remainder of the game and, possibly, even the season. He instead doubled down on the run with the three-headed backfield of Wendell Smallwood, LeGarrette Blount and Corey Clement, and it worked like a charm. The Eagles most likely won’t be that run-heavy in this one, but the balance could help them down the road.
I thought they were a running team
Chargers first-year coach Anthony Lynn gave a lot of preseason lip service to being more of a run-based team behind Melvin Gordon. That doesn’t exactly square with what went down a week ago, as Philip Rivers threw several ill-advised passes, leading to three interceptions in the loss to the Chiefs. If there is a battle of wills going on between coach and quarterback in San Diego, it will be the whole team that suffers for it.
Wentz on the attack
Carson Wentz threw for over 300 yards in each of the Eagles first two games, but backed off in the Week 3 win over New York. When they needed him to do so late, he made key throws as the Eagles pulled off the miracle finish. The Chargers will be coming at him from all sides with pass rushers like Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa, but Wentz has shown the ability to make plays scrambling as well as when he stays in the pocket and hurls.
Matchup to Watch: Eagles K Jake Elliott vs Chargers K Younghoe Koo
These two rookie kickers have been intimately involved in their team’s fortunes to this point. Koo’s misses (one was blocked) in the first two weeks cost his team the chance at a 2-0 start, while Elliott, who was only signed because of an injury to Caleb Sturgis, made an unforgettable game-winner from 61 against the Giants. This one may not come down to a field goal, but if one of these guys has a bad day, it could certainly affect the outcome.
Fantasy Football Tip: Chargers QB Philip Rivers
For whatever reason, the Chiefs have his number. He’s too much of a competitor not to bounce back from that ugly performance last week, and the Eagles secondary is hanging by a thread after Odell Beckham Jr. and Sterling Shepard shredded them a week ago. The Chargers may not win, but Rivers’ numbers will be gaudy.
Betting Tip: Chargers (+1)
The Eagles were really lucky to survive last week with that win, and the Chargers backs are against the wall. Take the point and the Chargers.
Prediction: Philadelphia Eagles 27-30 Los Angeles Chargers
Rivers and Koo get some redemption with a big game and winning kick, respectively.
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