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Chargers Installed As 7.5 Point Underdogs @ Saints On MNF

The Los Angeles Chargers will occupy a prime time slot for the first time in 2020 as they head to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome to take on the 2-2 New Orleans Saints on Monday night.

LA fell to 1-3 on Sunday as it blew a 24-7 lead over the Tampa Bay Buccanneers. The momentum shifted when the Chargers opted not to run out the clock and take a 17-point lead into half-time, and instead, the Bucs reduced the deficit to 10 through Mike Evans and went on to win 38-31.

Equally as disappointing as the Chargers’ collapse was the injury to running back Austin Ekeler, who is expected to miss 4-6 weeks with a hamstring problem and a hyperextended knee.

Ekeler joins a long list of names on the injury list in LA, but despite the issues that are mounting for Anthony Lynn, fans can be encouraged by the performances of rookie Justin Herbert.

The 22-year-old had two 50+ yard touchdown passes on Sunday and is making the most of his opportunity. Coach Lynn, however, is yet to declare the former Oregon star as his number one quarterback.

Given the Chargers’ absentees and their inability to close out games, it is easy to see why betting sites have favored the Saints by 7.5 points. That said, LA has been able to keep all of its games close thus far, even against the Kansas City Chiefs, who needed overtime to get the job done at the new SoFi Stadium.

Last week, the line for the Chargers vs Buccaneers game opened at 4.5 and had moved to 7.5 by kickoff, meaning that LA covered by losing 38-31. Against the spread, the Chargers are 2-1-1 this season, with the only push coming in the opening week victory over the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Saints, meanwhile, are 2-2 both against the spread and in real terms, in what has been a fairly underwhelming start to their campaign.

When the Detroit Lions took a 14-0 lead over New Orleans on Sunday, the Saints’ season threatened to spiral out of control, but Sean Payton’s men rallied to put up 35 unanswered points and demonstrated how devastating they can be on offense.

That offensive prowess is a big reason why the over/under total points line has been set at 52 for Monday Night Football. It is the first time it has been set above 50 for any Chargers game this year, and considering that every Saints game has seen 57 or more points this term and LA was in a 69-point shootout on Sunday, you can see why taking the over might be an attractive proposition for bettors.

The total Chargers points line is set at 22, while the Saints are at 29.5. Of course, with Tyrod Taylor close to a return, these lines could change depending on who Lynn decides to go with.

For those looking to back LA on the money line, the odds are set at +280. New Orleans is a strong favorite at -370, which is the shortest price it has been to win any game this season.

Justin Herbert to Start at QB This Week for the Chargers Against Panthers

Chargers head coach Anthony Lynn officially announced Wednesday that rookie Justin Herbert will the team’s starting quarterback for their Week 3 game against the Carolina Panthers according to the team’s official website.

Herbert got an unexpected start last Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs after the team’s doctor accidentally punctured veteran QB Tyrod Taylor’s lung during a pain injection.

Herbert acquitted himself well, throwing for over 300 yards and almost leading the Chargers to an upset victory over the 2019 Super Bowl Champions.

Taylor’s status is considered week-to-week and he will not be placed on injured reserve. Lynn has repeatedly stated that Taylor is his starting QB when healthy and gives the team its best chance to win each week but the coaching staff is going to face major pressure from both management and the public if Herbert puts up another stat performance.

He faces a much weaker secondary in the Panthers and has major streaming potential in most fantasy football leagues.

Chargers QB Tyrod Taylor Won’t Be 100 Percent for Sunday’s Game

Chargers coach Anthony Lynn has consistently said that when Tyrod Taylor is 100 percent healthy, he’ll remain the team’s QB.

It might be an easier pitch to make knowing it’s unlikely Taylor will be ready to play this week, Kevin Patra of NFL.com reports.

NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport reported Wednesday on Good Morning Football that Taylor seems unlikely to play this week following complications from a painkiller that was administered to address a rib injury.

“For him to be 100 percent this Sunday is theoretically possible but does not seem likely, based on what I know about the situation,” Rapoport noted.

Taylor was taken to the hospital and discharged Sunday. The veteran QB was on Friday’s injury report with a rib injury but wasn’t given a status as he fully intended to play with a flak jacket. The faulty injection, however, sidelined him for Week 2.

It could keep him out at least Week 3 as well, as the Chargers are likely to be cautious with the 31-year-old QB.

Who Will Win The AFC West?

It’s no secret that the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs are the favorites to win the AFC West in 2020. But in a division defined by longstanding and bitter rivalries, the other three teams are going to do their best to make sure the Chiefs don’t have an easy time getting back to the promised land.

Denver Broncos

Denver enters 2020 with +900 odds to win the AFC and +5000 Super Bowl odds, according to DraftKings. In theory, the Broncos could be an intriguing dark horse pick this year, depending on how you feel about Drew Lock.The Broncos should be an NFL public betting favorite coming into the year with all the hype surrounding them. The Broncos were 4-1 with Lock starting late in 2019 with the former Missouri gunslinger flashing plenty of promise. However, Denver’s offensive line was dreadful last season and will have a rookie at center in Lloyd Cushenberry. The Broncos are also incredibly young at wide receiver, although the group is loaded with talent.

Meanwhile, the Denver defense could be an X-factor this year. The Broncos have remained strong on that side of the ball ever since they won the Super Bowl a few years ago. They added lineman Jurrell Casey and cornerback A.J. Bouye over the offseason. The pass-rushing duo of Von Miller and Bradley Chubb could also be dangerous, but only if the Broncos can play with a lead more often than last year.

Kansas City Chiefs

Everything you need to know about the Chiefs you probably already know. They have the best Super Bowl odds at +600 and are an insane -455 to win the AFC West, by far the best NFL odds of any division champion. Needless to say, it’s all about Patrick Mahomes, who is an MVP and a Super Bowl winner at (checks notes) age 24.

Outside of a Super Bowl hangover, the question is whether the Kansas City defense can be more of an asset and less of a liability in 2020. For what it’s worth, the Chiefs gave up a respectable 19.3 points per game last year. A similar performance this year should be more than enough for Mahomes and the K.C. offense to keep the Chiefs among the NFL’s elite.

Las Vegas Raiders

During their first season in Vegas, the Raiders have +1200 odds to win the AFC West, the longest odds within the division. Jon Gruden’s team is also +6600 to win the Super Bowl. Derek Carr remains the quarterback, although there isn’t a ton of certainty over his future. With the Raiders adding rookie wide receivers Henry Ruggs and Bryan Edwards, Carr should be in a better position to succeed in 2020. Keep in mind he was a Pro Bowler not too long ago. With Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas is likely to have a stable running game, which should help.

For Gruden, it’s all about improving the defense that gave up over 26 points per game last year. While they didn’t make a big splash, the Raiders signed several mid-level veterans to help reinforce their defense. Of course, there’s a lot of work to do if Las Vegas is going to contain Mahomes and the Chiefs, among the other teams on their schedule.

Los Angeles Chargers

It’s a new era for the Chargers, who enter 2020 with +4500 Super Bowl odds and a +800 moneyline to win the AFC West, which gives them the second-best odds in the division. With Philip Rivers gone, Tyrod Taylor will begin the season as the starting quarterback. He’s proven that he can get a team to the playoffs, doing so in Buffalo. But Taylor needs a strong supporting cast around him to make it happen.

Last year, the Chargers were abysmal at running the ball and a tick below-average defensively. There might be only so much the Chargers can do to improve their rushing attack, especially since Taylor isn’t a threat to push the ball down the field. However, the Los Angeles defense looks solid on paper if everyone stays healthy, which could help keep the Chargers relevant in the playoff picture.

Chargers WR Mike Williams Has a Shoulder Sprain

Chargers wide receiver Mike Williams is considered week-to-week after suffering a sprained AC joint in his shoulder during Sunday’s practice, according to ESPN and multiple reports.

Williams is expected to be ready for the Chargers’ regular-season opener against the Bengals on Sept. 13, according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter.

Williams’ injury was first reported Monday by NFL Network.

Williams suffered the injury when he landed on his shoulder after attempting to make a diving catch Sunday.

Joey Bosa Supports DE Melvin Ingram Wanting a New Deal from the Chargers

The Chargers avoided a potential distraction when they re-signed one of their Pro Bowl defensive ends this month.

That move, however, led to another potential distraction regarding their other Pro Bowl defensive end, Jeff Miller of the Los Angeles Times reports.

Melvin Ingram attended the team’s second padded practice of training camp Tuesday in Costa Mesa but again did not participate in drills.

“We’ve talked a little bit and all I have to say is I’m going to support him,” said Joey Bosa, the Chargers’ other defensive star. “He’s going to make the best decision for him and his family. I have faith in him that he’s going to make the right decisions.”

Entering the final season of a four-year, $64-million contract he signed in June 2017, Ingram is now dissatisfied with his deal, particularly in light of the what Bosa just received.

At 31, he can become an unrestricted free agent next year. The Chargers have several other pending big-name free agents, a situation that further clouds Ingram’s future with the team.

“At the end of the day, it is a business and he has to take care of himself,” Bosa said. “I think he would love to play with us. He wants to be out there. But he’s gotta handle business.”

Check Out the Preview of HBO’s “Hard Knocks” Episode Two Featuring the Chargers

It’s episode two of the 2020 version of “Hard Knocks” on HBO tonight featuring the Chargers and Rams.

Veterans spend rare down time getting to know each other better and rookies push for any chance to prove themselves worthy of making the team.

Here’s a preview:

“Hard Knocks” on HBO Featuring the Chargers Debuts Tonight

Tonight is the debut of the HBO series “Hard Knocks” for the 2020 season, and this year is unlike any others as the show will not just focus on one team but two – the Chargers and the Rams.

Here’s a preview of the show tonight: