What: Green Bay Packers at Los Angeles Chargers
When: Sunday, November 3 at 4:25 pm ET
Where: Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California
How (TV): CBS
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Latest point spread: Packers -3.5, Chargers +3.5
This cross-conference showdown between two crafty veteran quarterbacks is a Week 9 Sunday afternoon must-watch featuring Aaron Rodgers and his 7-1 Green Bay Packers and Philip Rivers and his 3-5 Los Angeles Chargers.
The way the Packers have been playing (they’re on a four-game win streak), it’s no wonder they’re favored by over a field goal in this one, but the fact that it’s not by more indicates just how dangerous the Chargers can be, despite losing their last five out of seven games.
Should be a game featuring some great air attacks and some decent scoring, so let’s take a quick look at how these two teams measure up against each other for their Week 9 confrontation.
Be sure to also check out our Week 9 NFL Power Rankings!
The Green Bay Packers are coming off an ego-boosting 31-24 win over the Kansas City Chiefs, a solid victory on many levels despite not having to face one of the league’s best quarterbacks, Patrick Mahomes, due to his dislocated kneecap.
Aaron Rodgers looks as good as he ever has (did you see his incredible fade-away touchdown pass to Jamaal Williams last week?) and he has the talent around him and a young, aggressive head coach in Matt LaFleur to game plan a lot more victories.
Green Bay’s defense has been surprisingly good (they’re tied for the 5th most interceptions in the NFL with 8) and they will be the key to success, their job to do whatever it takes to get Rodgers and his offense back on the field.
The Los Angeles Chargers are a whole lot better than their 3-5 record would indicate, the team losing all five of its games by one score or less.
Philip Rivers is the third most productive quarterback in the league at this point, the problem is he just can’t seem to convert once his team is in the red zone, only able to turn 48 percent of their red zone visits into touchdowns, ranked 24th in the league.
One thing the Chargers’ defense is excellent in is preventing the pass play (their sixth best in the NFL against throws) and that’s a good thing given their facing the second most productive quarterback now playing.
These two teams have met 11 total times (including 0 postseason games), with Los Angeles winning 1 of those times and Green Bay winning the other 10 games.
The Packers and Chargers haven’t played each other since the 2015 season, when Los Angeles got beaten in Green Bay by a score of 27-20.
If the Packers win this matchup, they’ll move to 8-1-0 and really start to put a stranglehold on the NFC North, where the 6-2 Minnesota Vikings seem to be the only other team competing for divisional first place.
But if the Chargers come out winners in this one, they’ll be 4-5-0 and edge closer to the Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC West who go into Week 9 with a 5-3 record.
Who’s favored to win this Week 9 Packers-Chargers matchup?
Which team has a better offense? Defense? Special teams?
Which team’s quarterback is more likely to lead his team to victory?
We’re going to briefly compare the Packers and the Chargers next and attempt to answer those questions and more.
Passing attack: The Green Bay Packers have the 8th ranked passing offense in the league right now, averaging 271.9 yards per game through the air after eight weeks.
Quarterback Aaron Rodgers is still under center in Green Bay and ranked the 2nd most productive passer in the league having completed 185-of-283 passes for 2,324 yards and 16 touchdowns with 2 interceptions and a completion percentage of 65.4.
The Packers’ leading receiver after eight weeks is Marquez Valdes-Scantlin, who is currently ranked 36th in the league with 22 catches for 420 yards and 2 touchdowns.
Rushing attack: The Packers’ rushing attack is ranked 18th in the NFL after averaging 101.6 yards on the ground per game.
Aaron Jones is the Packers’ best runner and he is currently the 14th best in the NFL with 114 carries for 466 yards and 8 rushing touchdowns, averaging 4.1 yards per carry.
Green Bay has scored 215 total points this season, or 26.9 per game, which is the 7th best total in the NFL.
Listed as questionable for Week 9: wide receiver Davante Adams (toe), tight end Robert Tonyan (hip) and offensive tackle Bryan Bulaga (finger),
Injury notes: fullback Malcolm Johnson (shoulder), wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown (ankle), tight end Jace Sternberger (ankle), offensive tackle Jason Spriggs (back), and guard Lane Taylor (biceps) have been placed on injured reserve.
Passing attack: Los Angeles has the 6th best passing attack in the league right now after averaging 281.1 yards through the air each game.
Quarterback Philip Rivers is the 3rd most productive NFL passer after completing 202-of-305 passes for 2,315 yards and 12 touchdowns with 7 interceptions and a completion percentage of 66.2.
The Chargers’ best receiver is currently Keenan Allen, who has caught 51 passes for 617 yards with 3 touchdowns in eight weeks, ranked 10th among NFL receivers right now.
Rushing attack: Los Angeles has the 28th ranked rushing attack, so far averaging 69.5 yards on the ground per game.
Austin Ekeler is the Chargers’ best runner and now he is the 42nd most productive in the NFL with 72 carries for 251 yards and 3 touchdowns, averaging 3.5 yards per carry.
Los Angeles has scored 157 points in 2019, averaging 19.6 per game, which is currently the 23rd highest scoring average in the NFL.
Listed as questionable for Week 9: running back Justin Jackson (calf), kicker Michael Badgley (groin), offensive tackle Russell Okung (calf)
Injury notes: wide receivers Travis Benjamin (quadriceps), Dylan Cantrell (shoulder) and Dontrelle Inman (quadriceps), center Mike Pouncey (neck), tight ends Sean Culkin (Achilles) and Andrew Vollert (knee-ACL) and offensive guards Forrest Lamp (lower leg) and Koda Martin (undisclosed) have been placed on injured reserve.
The Green Bay Packers have Aaron Rodgers, and if he plays the way he’s been playing lately (and for his most of his career) his team will have the offensive advantage over the Chargers.
Pass coverage: The Packers have the 19th best pass defense in 2019 so far, allowing opponents to throw for 251.8 yards through the air per game.
Green Bay’s defense has 11 team interceptions and they have 20 sacks total.
Run coverage: The Packers are the 24th best NFL team against the run right now after allowing opponents to run for 123.8 yards per game.
Green Bay has allowed their opponents to score 163 total points, or 20.4 per game, which is the 11th most in the NFL.
The overall best tackler in the league right now plays for Green Bay, inside linebacker Blake Martinez, who leads the league in total tackles right now with 83 (3 for a loss), plus he has a sack, a quarterback hit and a forced fumble.
The more the season progresses, the better Green Bay outside linebacker Za’Darius Smith seems to get, right now with 8.0 total sacks (T-4th most in the league), plus he has 25 tackles (8 for a loss) and 15 quarterback hits.
Check out Packers’ cornerback Kevin King, who has 3 interceptions (T-3rd most in the league), 11 passes defended, a forced fumble, 3.5 sacks and 51 total tackles.
Listed as questionable for Week 9: linebacker Blake Martinez (hand).
Injury notes: linebacker Greg Roberts (abdomen) and safety Ibraheim Campbell (knee-ACL) are both listed as PUP-R, while linebacker Curtis Bolton (knee-ACL) and safety Raven Greene (ankle) have been placed on injured reserve.
Pass coverage: The Chargers’ defense is 6th best against the pass, allowing their opponents to throw for an average of 217.4 yards per matchup.
Los Angeles’ defense has 7 interceptions on opposing quarterbacks and they have 18 total sacks after eight weeks.
Run coverage: The Chargers are 23rd best against a rushing attack, allowing opponents to run for an average of 122.8 yards per game.
Los Angeles has allowed their opponents to score 157 total points this season, or 19.6 per matchup, which is 10th fewest in the NFL.
The best tackler on the Chargers after eight weeks of football is outside linebacker Thomas Davis, who has 61 tackles (3 for a loss), a sack and 2 quarterback hits.
The Bosa family produces football players worth watching, like defensive end Joey Bosa, who has 7.0 sacks already (T-7th most in the NFL), as well as 13 quarterback hits, a forced fumble and 42 total tackles (10 for a loss).
Keep an eye out for Chargers’ cornerback Casey Hayward, who has 2 interceptions, 9 passes defended and 20 total tackles going into Week 9.
Listed as questionable for Week 9: defensive tackles Cortez Broughton (illness), Justin Jones (shoulder) and Brandon Mebane (knee).
Injury notes: linebacker Tre’Von Johnson (undisclosed) and safeties Nasir Adderley (hamstring), Derwin James (foot) and Adrian Phillips (forearm) have been placed on injured reserve.
The Chargers and Packers allow opponents to score about 20 points per game on average, but statistically, Los Angeles is a bit better against both the run and pass so they will have an advantage over Mike Pettine’s Packers’ defense.
Green Bay’s punter, J.K. Scott, is in his second NFL season, and in 2019 he has punted 38 times for a net average of 43.2 yards per punt, 8th best in the league.
Los Angeles’ rookie punter, Ty Long, is in his first NFL season, and this year he has punted 25 times for a net average of 42.4 yards per punt, 13th best in the league.
Green Bay’s veteran placekicker Mason Crosby, in his thirteenth season (all with the Packers), is a Super Bowl Champion and led the league in scoring in 2007.
Crosby has gone 11-for-12 this season, his longest a 48-yarder, and he has missed zero extra point attempts (26/26).
Los Angeles’ placekicker Michael Badgley is currently suffering a groin injury and for a while, punter Ty Long has filled in, but now the Chargers have signed free agent Chase McLaughlin.
McLaughlin is 6-for-9 this season, his longest a 50-yarder, and he has missed no extra point attempts (7/7).
Green Bay’s punt returner, rookie wide receiver Darrius Shephard, was just named the Packers’ punt returner after receiver Trevor Davis was traded to the Oakland Raiders.
So far this year, Shephard has returned 2 punts for -9 yards and 0 touchdowns, averaging no yards per return, ranked 57th in the league in punt return average.
Los Angeles’ punt returner, nickelback Desmond King, is ranked 19th in punt return average this season.
King has returned 9 punts for 76 yards and no touchdowns, averaging 8.4 yards per return, his longest for a 68-yard touchdown return.
The Packers have a better punter and a more experienced placekicker, so they will have the special teams advantage on Sunday against the Chargers.
The main reason Green Bay will win this game is because Aaron Rodgers is playing well and winning and Philip Rivers is playing well and losing, so there’s no reason to think that this will change when they face off against each other.
Rodgers knows how to get his team into the end zone, with Green Bay ranked 4th in red zone efficiency compared to the Chargers, who are ranked 24th, so from week to week, the Packers’ offense scores almost a touchdown more than the Chargers do, so they will win this one as a result.
And finally, Green Bay will win because despite the fact that this game is being played in California, it’s predicted that 70 percent of the Dignity Health Sport’s Park attendance (it holds 30,000) will be traveling Packers’ fans, giving the green and gold team a home-like advantage and yet another path to victory, which they’ve done the prior six times they’ve faced the Chargers away.
The Los Angeles Chargers will win if their superior pass defense can not only get to Rodgers but can also cover and shut down his three major targets, receivers Davante Adams and Marquez Valdes-Scantling.
In order to come out on top here, the Chargers will also have to figure out how to slow down Aaron Jones, which will put their 23rd ranked rush defense to the test and give coordinator Gus Bradley a game-planning challenge.
Philip Rivers sure could use a win here after the team’s disappointing start to the season (he should do well against the Packers’ 19th ranked pass defense), and head coach Anthony Lynn needs to find a way to beat the Packers so he and Rivers can start building a delayed path to the postseason, something that Rivers, at least, is running out of time to do.
Green Bay Packers, because Aaron Rodgers will continue to find a way to get the job done and he and new head coach Matt LaFleur are just getting started.
John Breech of CBS Sports predicts the score as Packers 27, Chargers 20.
My prediction for the final score is Packers 27, Chargers 20.
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Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]More info on Mike Lukas
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