Two QB's at the top of their game meet in Week 6 at Lambeau Field, and our NFL handicapper thinks there is value in the O/U Total listed for the matchup between the Packers and Chargers.
Coming off of a gut wrenching loss on Monday night, the 2-3 San Diego Chargers have the arduous task of visiting Lambeau Field on a short week to visit the undefeated 5-0 Green Bay Packers. Green Bay just finished winning against a very underrated St. Louis Ram defense, and will be looking forward to facing off against a San Diego offense that just gave up 24 points to Michael Vick and the Pittsburgh Steelers. The opening odds on this game don’t give San Diego much of a chance in this game, with the Packers favored by 10 points at most sports books. Of course, Green Bay has won 11 straight games at Lambeau so it’s not like San Diego was going to come into this game favored by any means. The O/U total opened at 50 and is now found at 50.5 at books such as Bovada.
Ok, let’s just agree here that Aaron Rodgers is probably the best quarterback on the planet right now. What chances should we give to the Chargers to slow down Rodgers in this game? Of course the spread agrees that it is not much. But in reality, the Chargers have been pretty good against the pass when measured by yards allowed. Averaging just 218.8 yards allowed per game, San Diego is 9th in the NFL. However, the Chargers haven’t exactly faced the planets’ best quarterbacks. Let’s go down the line on the QB’s that the Chargers have faced this year, with their season long QBR so far:
Week 1: DET – Matthew Stafford – QBR 74.8 (Win)
Week 2: CIN – Andy Dalton – QBR 115.6 (Loss)
Week 3: MINN – Teddy Bridgewater – QBR 84.5 (Loss)
Week 4: CLE – Josh McCown – QBR 102.8 (Win)
Week 5: PITT – Michael Vick – QBR 85.8 (Loss)
So, the only QB with a QBR rating over 100 that the Chargers have beat is Josh McCown of the Browns and the Chargers gave up 27 points that game. Andy Dalton has a QBR of 115.6 and beat the Chargers; that probably proves my point. Alas, Aaron Rodgers has a QBR of 117.4.
Green Bay is going to put up their points against the Chargers, but what about their chances of defending the Chargers’ offensive attack? The Chargers are in the middle of the NFL in points scored, but 3rd in the NFL in yards per game, including 297.2 yards per game in the air. One of the reasons they have struggled is their 39% 3rd down conversion percentage, which would have you believe they can’t stay on the field. But I’m calling that a fluke, as the Chargers are 6th in the NFL in time of possession. Eventually those yards are going to turn into points. The Packers; however, are 4th in overall passing defense so something will have to give in this game.
One of the positives that came out of San Diego’s week 5 loss against the Steelers is the return of tight end, Antonio Gates. Philip Rivers and Gates took no time at all getting acclimated to each other again on offense, as Gates was targeted 11 times and pulled in 9 receptions for 92 yards and 2 TD’s. It was all part of a 365-yard performance by Rivers in the game on his way to a league leading 1,613 yards through Week 5 of the NFL season.
With two quarterbacks sporting a 70%+ completion percentage this season, I don’t like the chances of a low scoring game here. Historically, in the last five matchups between these two teams, at least one of them has scored over 30 points. I don’t see that changing this week, and I expect the O/U line to keep moving up. I wouldn’t be surprised if it touched 52 at some public fading books such as Bovada. No matter, I’d take the Over in this game for anything below 54 and love any play teasing this total down to 45 or so. Quarterbacks will rule the day, so take over 50.5 at Pinnacle as one of your Week 6 NFL Picks.
NFL Pick: Chargers & Packers OVER 50.5 at Pinnacle