Game Overview ::
By mike johnson >>
- A west coast matchup of two teams who have failed to live up to preseason expectations.
- The Cardinals defense has given up 31+ points in four of their last five games (only the Rams failed to reach that number).
- The Chargers have one of the worst run defenses in the league.
- Kyler Murray practiced fully this week and will be starting this game after a two game absence.
How Los angeles Will Try To Win ::
The Chargers enter Week 12 with a 5-5 record and on the outside looking in for the AFC playoffs. While their current situation is slightly disappointing, they appear to be right on the edge of being a top-tier team (although we’ve been able to say that about several other Chargers teams as well in recent years). The Chiefs are widely considered the top team in the AFC and the Chargers have lost to them on fourth quarter drives twice this season. Likewise, the 49ers are one of the highest rated teams in the NFC and the Chargers lost a close game to them in Week 10. There is a saying that “close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades,” but we would be crazy to not consider the context of the Chargers schedule when evaluating their season. Their two other losses were against the NFC West leading Seahawks and a Week 3 loss to the Jaguars when Justin Herbert was severely injured/limited by a rib injury.
This week the Chargers face a Cardinals defense that has surrendered 31+ points in four of their last five games after a strong start to the season. The Chargers have not scored 30 points in a game since Week 5, but this matchup could be just what they need to right the ship. The Chargers throw the ball on over 67% of their offensive plays, more than every team in the NFL except the Chiefs. The Cardinals defense faces the seventh highest pass rate in the NFL and the Chargers will happily continue in that regard. They will also be closer to full strength at their offensive skill positions than they have been for a while with Keenan Allen finally back and healthy, as well as Gerald Everett off the injury report. The Chargers will still be without Mike Williams this week, but Josh Palmer has emerged as a serious perimeter weapon and toasted the Chiefs on Sunday night in Week 11. The Chargers also play at the fastest tempo in the NFL, combining a high pass rate and blistering pace of play to lean on their young superstar quarterback Justin Herbert. This week we should expect a familiar approach and the Chargers to spread the ball out the way the 49ers did to the Cardinals on Monday night in a dominant win. The Cardinals have been good against wide receivers the past couple of seasons, but can be exploited by teams who are willing to spread the ball around and are willing to find openings rather than force the ball to certain players/areas predictably. Luckily for the Chargers, they love to spread the ball around and attack all areas of the field.
How arizona Will Try To Win ::
- Herbert stacks make sense if you think this game is going to explode. Meanwhile, you can make a case for several Chargers skill players to use with Harbert or by themselves::
- Austin Ekeler should see heavy usage once again and has an elite ceiling. He has had a couple of relatively quiet weeks and could go overlooked.
- Gerald Everett at full health in a great matchup for tight ends could certainly pay off and will be in my Player Grid.
- The Cardinals have done well against receivers in recent years but Josh Palmer and Keenan Allen have very appealing price tags relative to this game environment.
- James Conner has total control of this backfield and should benefit from extra scoring chances with Kyler Murray and Marquise Brown returning to the field.
- Trey McBride is an interesting tight end this week with Rondale Moore out and Greg Dortch a game-time decision. McBride is a great athlete and a spike in usage at a very low price tag could certainly pay off.
- In scenarios where this game shoots out, DeAndre Hopkins could easily lead the slate in targets.
- Returning from a hamstring injury and battling fumbling issues, I don’t think Murray runs as much as we need him to in order to hit his ceiling. That being said, his salary is lower than we’ve seen it in a long time this week
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