Game Overview ::
By papy324 >>
- Austin Ekeler is set up to succeed.
- The Chargers receivers are mispriced for their opportunity caused by injuries
- The Falcons backfield is likely to succeed cumulatively but it’s hard to predict how the work will be split
- The Falcons passing game pieces are all cheap
How los Angeles Will Try To Win ::
The 4-3 Chargers come into Week 9 off a much-needed bye as they struggle to get healthy. Despite battling injuries, Brandon Staley has kept his team in the hunt as they sit only a game back from division-leading Kansas City (KC holds the tiebreaker) and third in the wildcard spot. Staley must desperately want to make the playoffs, after losing a win-or-go-home game against the Raiders last year as time expired and receiving criticism for his decision making after the game. The Chargers are still well positioned to make the playoffs, but they are coming off an ugly home loss against a Seahawks team they were expected to beat. This group has had two weeks to chew on that performance and should be highly motivated in a type of game you have to win if you’re going to be a playoff contender.
The Chargers have played fast since Staley took over. They have the second fastest overall pace, playing quickly in all situations, and only slowing down slightly (11th in pace) when ahead. This is a team that wants to throw the ball (3rd highest pass-play percentage) and keep defenses off-balance with an up-tempo attack. Staley’s offense revolves around Austin Ekeler, who has found himself playing a unique position in the NFL. If Deebo Samuel is a “Wide Back,” then Austin Ekeler is a “Running Receiver.” Due to injuries at WR, Ekeler’s previously robust passing game role has expanded, leading to him seeing a plain silly 28 targets across his past two games. Rested off a bye, with more injury questions in the WR room, there is every reason to think Ekeler will remain the engine of this offense.
The Falcons have been court jesters on defense, getting goofed on the ground (26th in DVOA), and assaulted in the air (30th in DVOA). The Falcons are giving up a generous 5.01 adjusted line yards (29th), but the Chargers are sporting a puny 4.04 adjusted line yards on offense (29th), which means they are likely to choose to attack the Falcons defense (that is nothing but least resistance) through the air. Staley has no reason to stray from his usual plan of attack, an up-tempo passing offense that relies on Ekeler as a WR1 by default, depending on the other healthy options. Falcons defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ scheme has long been described as one of the most complicated in football, and while we should expect the Falcons defense to improve eventually, they are showing how many breakdowns are possible in a new scheme that isn’t yet fully understood by the players. Expect the Chargers to attack in their usual aggressive manner, even with injuries limiting their WR personnel.
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