NFL 2019 (Week 2): Los Angeles Chargers at Detroit Lions

Russell S. Baxter

NFL 2019 (Week 2): Los Angeles Chargers at Detroit Lions

By Pete Fasulo

Special to Pro Football Guru

This interconference Week 2 matchup pits two teams that went into overtime last week. The Chargers won their game over the Colts 30-24 on an Austin Ekeler run, while the Lions ended up playing to a tie vs. the Cardinals after each team kicked an overtime field goal.

When the Lions have the ball: With a 24-6 lead in the fourth quarter, the Lions showed their inexperience in holding a lead. While Matt Stafford threw three touchdown passes compared to zero interceptions, his completion percentage was not where it needed to be to burn the clock late in the game. His receivers, tight end T.J. Hockenson and wideout Danny Amendola, had a strong game and were able to get open quite often. Can they have the same success against a Bolts’ secondary that is definitely a step above what Detroit saw last week? The Lions’ offensive line did a fairly good job vs. Arizona, yet facing Los Angeles and Joey Bosa may prove to be a tougher task. Detroit’s offense is going to need to learn how to chew up clock and string together some first downs. They also need to limit the mistakes as they committed nine penalties and lost two fumbles.

When the Chargers have the ball: The Chargers put up 30 points last week versus a Colts’ team with a very stout defense. What will they be able to muster versus a Lions’ defense that gave up 18 points last week in the fourth quarter alone? Ken Whisenhunt and Philip Rivers looked as if they weren’t missing a beat without holdout running back Melvin Gordon. They utilized Austin Ekeler perfectly as he ran 12 times and caught six passes. Head coach Anthony Lynn will stick to that plan as Ekeler has earned the chance to carry an even larger load. The key question will be whether giving the young running back 15-plus carries and 8-10 targets will hurt his productivity or actually help him get into a groove. Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry had strong performances last week. Can the Chargers continue that success now that Henry is sidelined for at least six weeks with a broken tibia? That question might actually be answered by whether or not the Chargers’ offensive line can step up and protect Rivers. The Bolts gave up four sacks last week and they seem to be missing Russell Okung more than they’d like to admit.

Prediction: Expect this game to be close early with the Californians pulling away in the second half. The Chargers will need to combat the fatigue of a trip to the eastern part of the country. The belief here is that the Bolts will be able to get to Stafford a few times and thus disrupt what the Lions are attempting to do on offense. Rivers and the Chargers’ offense will put up points in the second half and head home to sunny SoCal with a 2-0 start.

Los Angeles Chargers 30, Detroit Lions 20

Pete Fasulo (@LISportsFans) is a freelance writer covering business, music, and sports. He has written for music publications such as Revolver and Aural Fix. His sports writing career has been resurrected here after numerous years at The Torch and The Long Island Tribune (many moons ago).

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