Might Chargers coach Mike McCoy be in trouble? You are hearing rumblings and those will only get louder with a home loss to Cleveland. But the Bolts are (-9) at 5Dimes with an NFL odds total of 45.
Bolts Lucky To Not Be Winless
McCoy, the former Denver offensive coordinator, is in his third season in San Diego and is a solid enough 19-16. But the Chargers missed the playoffs last year when a win in the season finale in Kansas City would have got them in. And obviously this year's 1-2 start is disappointing. Perhaps team ownership will want to make a change if the Chargers do move to Los Angeles next season, which is possible. McCoy is +5000 on NFL odds to be the first coach fired this year. That's probably not a wise bet as that's going to be Miami's Joe Philbin, perhaps as soon as this Sunday.
The Chargers could easily be 0-3. It took a huge comeback in Week 1 to beat visiting Detroit 33-28. In Week 2, San Diego lost 24-19 in Cincinnati. No shame there as the Bengals are unbeaten and look like one of the NFL's better teams. But that San Diego offense was fairly dreadful in Sunday's 31-14 loss at Minnesota. Sacked four times for a loss of 28 yards, QB Philip Rivers went 21-for-34 for 246 yards with two turnovers -- one interception returned 91 yards for a score -- and took a hard hit to the midsection from Anthony Barr in the third quarter. Rivers was pulled in the fourth quarter with San Diego down 24.
It was the second week in a row Rivers was sacked four times and with the beating he is taking, Rivers is never going to make it through 16 games. That San Diego offensive line is totally beaten up. Center Chris Watt left the Vikings game after just 11 plays with a groin injury suffered the previous week. Joining Watt on the sideline were left guard Orlando Franklin (right ankle) and left tackle King Dunlap (concussion). Their status for this week remains unclear. Plus right guard D.J. Fluker could "barely walk" according to the San Diego media following the Vikings game. That line will see a Cleveland defense that has seven sacks but is just 25th in total defense. It is dead last in rushing so that could mean a big game for Chargers rookie running back Melvin Gordon.
San Diego will be without star tight end Antonio Gates one more game due to suspension. Backup Ladarius Green missed the Vikings game with a concussion and is questionable for Week 4.
The Chargers are 1-2 against the spread on NFL odds this season and 1-2 'over/under.'
Why McCown Again?
I honestly don't get what Browns coach Mike Pettine is doing. The team's future is not 36-year-old starting QB Josh McCown. He fell to 0-2 as a starter last week in a 27-20 home loss to Oakland. McCown had decent numbers, throwing for 341 yards and two scores, but he also threw the game-clinching interception and missed some open receivers at time. McCown injured his throwing hand in the game but X-rays were negative and he will start.
Cleveland's only win has come with second-year QB Johnny Manziel starter, but Pettine is saying he has no thoughts of going to the former Heisman Trophy winner to replace McCown as the starter. That makes no sense. Pettine might lose the locker room, too, because reports out of Cleveland are that the vast majority of players want Manziel in there. One player essentially ripped the coach anonymously to TMZ.
The Browns are struggling on the ground, ranking 25th rushing with an average of 86.3 yards per game. They have one rushing touchdown. Last year Cleveland finished 17th in rushing and scored 17 rushing touchdowns.
In that loss to the Raiders, the Browns lost three defensive starters to injury in the second half. Defensive backs Joe Haden (rib) and Tashaun Gipson (groin) both left in the third quarter. They were followed by linebacker Craig Robertson (ankle) shortly after. Haden should play Sunday, Gipson is questionable and Robertson is out.
Cleveland is 1-2 ATS on NFL picks and 3-0 O/U.
The Browns ended a four-game losing streak in the series with one of the ugliest games of the 2012 season, a 7-6 home win. How long ago was that? Former Browns first-round bust Trent Richardson actually had a good game with 122 yards rushing and the game's only score. One of a very few good memories from that guy. Brandon Weeden, now starting in Dallas, was Cleveland's QB then. It was also the first win for Browns owner Jimmy Haslam. Rivers was just 18-for-34 for 154 yards for the Chargers.
NFL Free Picks: Give the points, go 'OVER' the total at 5Dimes. The Chargers have covered four straight in Week 4. The 'OVER' is 10-3 in their past 13 after scoring less than 15 points in their previous game.