The San Diego Chargers are (2-3) for a fourth consecutive season, but in their past three subpar starts they’ve gone on to win the AFC West .San Diego has made a habit out of turning slow starts into division titles, and last season reeled off 11 consecutive victories after dropping three of its first five games. The San Diego Chargers will attempt to get the ball rolling again against the (2-3) St. Louis Rams this Sunday at the Edward Jones Dome, kickoff slated for 1PM EST. Both of these squads were both brought back down to earth last Sunday with dismal losses, the Chargers lost to an inferior opponent while the Rams were blown out in Detroit of all places. The last time these teams hooked up was back in 2006 when the Rams were on the losing end of a shootout, the final being 38-24 in the favor of the “Super” Chargers.
The Chargers found out what it was like to lose to the Oakland Raiders for the first time in 13 previous games last week. The black hole was rocking as Phillip Rivers was constantly pressured and the Raiders defense stifled a prolific offense from fully opening up. Although the Chargers faced one of the (statistically) worst run defenses in the league last week in the Raiders, most of the ground game was shut down and at times made to look foolishly incompetent. Both RB Ryan Matthews and RB Mike Tolbert where unable to find their spots in the Raiders front line and had very average outings. To put it mildly, the Chargers’ special teams are atrocious, they’ve allowed six touchdowns this season already. Tackle Marcus McNeill is likely to play for the first time this season after spending the past three weeks on the roster exempt list following his own off-season holdout. The two-time Pro Bowl selection agreed to a five-year contract extension this week as the Chargers added him to the active roster. San Diego, however, won’t have linebacker Shawne Merriman on the field. Once one of the most-feared players in the NFL, Merriman (calf) was placed on injured reserve Wednesday with a “minor-injury designation,” meaning he must be released when he becomes healthy. The former first-round pick held out for two weeks before signing a one-year tender in mid-August. WR Vincent Jackson is still holding out and will be eligible to be traded Monday — just 24 hours before the trade deadline. Perhaps no team could use a healthy wideout more than the Rams, though a report surfaced this week that St. Louis is not interested in Jackson.
On Sunday, the Rams got throttled on the road by the Lions and lost the turnover battle 3-0. QB Sam Bradford looked human once again and was constantly pestered by a good Lions front four. The Rams defense seemed to have no answer for the Lions passing attack and was very undisciplined as they were called for 7 penalties. WR Mark Clayton went down early in the first half with an apparent leg injury after tangling up with a Lions defender, it was learned this week that he had in fact tore his patellar tendon and will be lost for the remainder of the season. This will mean the Rams will have to rely on a rather young and inexperienced receiving corp to field the balls from the rookie quarterback. The Rams will certainly look to ride Steven Jackson with their banged-up receiving corps, Jackson had a rather slow day last Sunday as his offensive line gave him no chance against the surging Lions defense. The Rams need a win Sunday to stay in the thick of things in the rather weak NFC West.
Chargers vs Rams Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
San Diego Chargers -8
@ St. Louis Rams +8
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Chargers vs Rams Prediction for Week 6:
Game Total Prediction (TOP PLAY) – San Diego has seen the total go “over” the number in 4 of its first 5 games; last week it lost to Oakland 35-27, the total sailing above the posted number of 44. The Chargers have made it a habit of starting slow over the last few years, and once again they are following that familiar pattern as they sit at 2-3 on the season after last week’s collapse. San Diego is blessed with a dynamic offense, however it’s struggling with its special teams play and is plagued by turnovers and a porous defensive unit. Important to note, dating back to last season the Chargers have seen the total go “over” the number in 4 of their last 6 on the road; also, over the last two seasons San Diego has seen the total go “over” the number in both games its played off a loss against a division rival; also in 7 of 10 non-conference contests; also in 17 of 28 when playing the roll of favorite. On the other side of the field: The Rams have seen the total go “over” the number in 2 of their first 5 games; last week they were annihilated 44-6 by the Lions, the total going over the number of 43 1/2. We will consider laying the wood with the OVER in this Sunday afternoon affair in Missouri.
Spread Prediction – The Chargers and Rams both have issues with coughing up the pigskin it, a good team like San Diego should not have these kinds of mental errors or mistakes. There is no question that the Chargers are the better team in this match up, they should win, even on the road, if they can play smart. The Rams do not have the worst defense by any stretch of the imagination, and I still consider O.J. Atogwe a dangerous player to be throwing the ball near. I expect them to do things to slow down a passing offense that better defenses before them haven’t been able to do might be a bit much. San Diego plays the Rams well and are 4-2 ATS in their previous 6 games against St. Louis. Interesting to note, San Diego is 22-7 ATS in dome games since 1992. I recommend taking a look at the Chargers covering this spread in St. Louis, they always seem to turn things around about this time of the year. Cheers!
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