It’s still way early in the NFL regular season, but there are a handful of games on the Week 3 docket which could have a huge bearing on the playoff picture down the road. One of them takes place out in Los Angeles as a pair of AFC squads with big 2019 ambitions square off in a late Sunday afternoon showdown.
The Houston Texans will take their talents out to the West Coast to take on the Chargers. The two teams enter this contest with records of 1-1 and have taken similar paths to get here. They’ve both been involved in a pair of tight games to begin the year. For the Texans, their two games have been decided by a total of three points. The Chargers two games have a combined margin of victory of nine points.
These two clubs match up well, and both have designs on making some serious noise in the AFC this season. We should be in line for a tight and closely-contested affair. Let’s take a look at this intriguing matchup in full detail, starting with the current game lines.
Houston Texans vs. Los Angeles Chargers, 4:25 PM EST, Sun. Sept.22, CBS
Betting odds provided by: Sportsbetting.ag
Houston vs. LA Chargers Pick:
On Sunday, the Texans were home to play host to the Jacksonville Jaguars. It turned into a defensive-minded affair in which neither side could get much going on offense. Houston was up 13-3 late in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars stormed back and had a chance to tie, but opted for a two-point conversion. That proved to be a bad call as Houston held on for a 13-12 win.
The Chargers were in Detroit for a tilt with the Lions and also found themselves locked in a tight affair. They held a 10-6 lead going into the 4th quarter. Matthew Stafford found Kenny Golladay in the end zone to take the lead. A late Los Angeles drive was ended when Darius Slay picked off a Philip Rivers pass in the end zone, giving the hosts a 13-10 victory.
|LA Chargers||1-1||40||37||L1||2-AFC West|
Houston opened up the season on the road for a Monday Night Football date with the New Orleans Saints. This was a back-and-forth affair with a wild ending. The Texans took the lead with 37 seconds to go off of a DeShaun Watson to Kenny Stills hookup. The Saints would march down the field after getting the ball back. Will Lutz hit the game-winning field goal to allow the Saints to escape with a 30-28 win.
Los Angeles opened up the season at home by welcoming the Indianapolis Colts. This was another contest with a good amount of ebbs and flows. The Chargers held a 24-16 lead heading into the 4th quarter. Jacoby Brissett connected with T.Y. Hilton for a score, and a 2-point conversion tied it up. The teams headed to overtime where Austin Ekeler would find paydirt to give the hosts a 30-24 victory.
Through two games, the offenses have produced similar results. Both squads put up a good amount of points in Week 1, but they would find themselves held in check by opponents last week. The defenses are also in range, but Houston is having some problems in the secondary. In addition, Watson has already been sacked 10 times. There’s clearly some work to do on the line for the Texans.
Despite being roughed up, Watson is off to a solid start. He has completed 61 percent of his passes and been responsible for five total scores. Carlos Hyde leads the way out of the backfield with 30 carries for 173 yards. DeAndre Hopkins has been great with a line of 13/151/2 thus far. Whitney Mercilus has accounted for three of the team’s five sacks.
Rivers is also off to a pretty good start. He has thrown for 626 yards, three scores and two picks. Austin Ekeler has been seeing the bulk of the work out of the backfield in the absence of Melvin Gordon, accounting for four total scores. Keenan Allen paces the pass catchers with a line of 16/221/1. Thomas Davis leads the team with 26 tackles.
These two clubs have only hooked up six times in total with Los Angeles holding a 5-1 advantage. The last meeting came back in 2016, a 21-13 road win for the Chargers. So far this season, Los Angeles is 0-1-1 against the spread and 1-1 and on totals. Houston is 1-1 both ATS and on the Over/Under. .
Last season, the Chargers were 13-5 overall, 10-8 ATS, and 9-9 on totals. The Texans were 11-6 straight-up, 7-9-1 ATS, and 7-10 on totals.
Over the last three years, Houston has struggled in the role of road underdog. The club is 5-15 overall over that span and 9-11 ATS. As home favorites over the same time frame, the Chargers are 11-8 straight-up and 7-11-1 ATS.
The preseason futures market had both of these teams pegged as potential playoff squads. Houston has a realistic shot at taking down the wide open AFC South. The AFC West will likely come down to the Chargers or the Kansas City Chiefs. If the two clubs fall short on their divisional goals, they should both be in the Wild Card chase.
They both made it to the postseason last year. The Texans came up short at home to the Colts in the Wild Card round. The Chargers picked up a road win over the Baltimore Ravens before being hammered by the New England Patriots in the divisional round.
For this contest, the Chargers are slight home favorites. This one is close to being a toss-up, but the Texans have shown just a little bit more through two games. We’re rolling with Houston plus the points, and an outright upset wouldn’t be stunning either.