Chargers vs. Falcons Week 9 matchup preview and current betting lines
When the Los Angeles Chargers (4-3) and Atlanta Falcons (4-4) meet, it is hard not to think about the games they have let slip away over the years. No one does it better than these two. Since 2012, the Falcons have lost nine games after leading by 15 points. The Chargers are next with six such games. No other team has more than four blown leads of that magnitude in the last decade.
Blown leads have not been a big problem for either team this year, but they both are among the bottom four teams in points allowed. Most surprisingly, Marcus Mariota (61.4) ranks No. 6 in QBR and Justin Herbert (55.6) is only No. 12 going into Week 9. This was supposed to be Herbert’s rise to MVP level this year.
These offenses could not be much different, but each should have an advantage against the opposing defense. Herbert’s ribs should feel rested coming off the bye and he will appreciate the lack of pass rush from the Falcons. Mariota barely throws the ball but can be effective when he does. Still, you know the Falcons are going to run often on a defense that is allowing a league-worst 5.7 yards per carry.
The NFL Week 9 odds have the Chargers as a 3.5-point road favorite with a total of 49.5 points in this matchup. What kind of late-game drama could these two get into this time?
Players to watch in the Chargers vs. Falcons game
Los Angeles Chargers
Austin Ekeler: With the injuries to the receivers, Ekeler should be a huge dual threat in this game. His 53 catches are already 16 more than the next closest player (Mike Williams), and that gap should only grow here. Ekeler has not found much ground success outside of the Cleveland win, but he is finding the end zone every week again after going scoreless in the first three games of the season.
Kyle Pitts: Do we have to retire the Kyle Pitts jokes about how his only touchdown as a rookie came in London? Pitts has caught a touchdown in each of his last two home games. Pitts also had 80 yards against Carolina for only his second game this season with more than 25 receiving yards. The Falcons need to get him involved much more frequently even if they still want to be a run-first offense.
Our Best NFL Bets for the Chargers vs. Falcons game
We have two NFL Week 9 predictions for a game that should go down to the wire as it usually does for these franchises.
Chargers vs. Falcons Point Spread Pick: Falcons +3.5 (-120)
The Chargers vs. Falcons spread opened with the Chargers as a 3-point road favorite, but it has moved to 3.5 at several places. It could settle in lower if the Chargers are in fact without wide receivers Keenan Allen and Mike Williams, so maybe you want to get in on the Atlanta side early.
This matchup might feel different if Herbert had Allen and Williams available, but they have literally played less than 50 snaps together this season due to injury. That is part of the reason why Herbert is averaging a career-low 6.5 yards per attempt, though you’d still like to see him doing better than he has. But he is a gamer and should be plenty competitive in this game against one of the league’s worst pass rushes.
But other than the games against the Rams and Bengals where the Falcons fell so far behind before halftime, the Atlanta offense is rushing for at least 150 yards on every defense. That should not be a problem against a Chargers defense that allows more yards per rush than anyone. The Chargers have already allowed the Browns and Seahawks to rush for over 200 yards.
Atlanta is 6-2 ATS this year, tied with Dallas and the Giants for the best spread record. Despite trailing 28-3 against the Rams and 21-0 to start the fourth quarter against Tampa Bay, this Atlanta team still covered those spreads. The Falcons have failed to cover the last two games, but this team is playing better as the season goes on. Trust them to put up a good home effort here for another cover, if not an upset win.
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Total: Over 49.5 Points (-110)
The hope that the Chargers would provide Herbert with a stronger defense in head coach Brandon Staley’s second season is not working out. The Chargers are allowing 27.0 points per game, the same average they allowed last season when they finished near the bottom on defense.
The Falcons won’t mind having to play a defense that doesn’t have pass rusher Joey Bosa or corner J.C. Jackson. The over is 5-3 in Atlanta games and 4-3 in Los Angeles games this season.
In what was supposed to be a down year for this offense without Matt Ryan (traded) and Calvin Ridley (suspended), the Falcons are No. 10 in offensive points per drive. The Chargers are 13th despite having Herbert at quarterback for each game.
But this has high-scoring game written all over it with two different styles of teams going up against two of the worst defenses in the league. The strengths of each offense match up well with the weaknesses of each defense. It would be surprising to see another 19-16 type game here for the Chargers. This one should hit the over for your NFL bet of the week.bet on NFL with draftkings >
Frequently asked questions about the Chargers vs. Falcons game in Week 9
The game is being played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia.
Since 2016, the Chargers have blown 18 fourth-quarter leads compared to 17 for the Falcons. But while they are tied with other teams, the highest total in that time belongs to the Colts (21). In 2022, each team has lost one game after leading in the fourth quarter.
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