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Los Angeles Chargers vs. Philadelphia Eagles Prediction and Preview

Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles

Jalen Hurts and the Eagles look to build on last week's win at home against a Chargers team that has lost two in a row

Depending on which side of the field you are on, this seems like either a really bad matchup (for the Chargers) or a really good matchup (for the Eagles).

Philadelphia (3-5) is coming off its most complete game of what has been a really up-and-down season. Of course, a lot of teams can have a complete game when it's against the Lions, but the Eagles dominated in all areas in the 44-6 bloodletting.

Things looked all fine and dandy for the Chargers through the first five weeks of the season, racing out to a 4-1 start, which included a win at Kansas City and a should-coulda-woulda close loss to Dallas. But the last two weeks have looked pretty putrid. The Lightning Bolts were bludgeoned by the Ravens (34-6), went on their bye, and then suffered a crushing never-shoulda-lost-that-one decision to the Patriots (27-24).

Which trend will continue this weekend at Lincoln Financial Field?

Los Angeles (4-3) at Philadelphia (3-5)

Kickoff: Sunday, Nov. 7 at 4:05 p.m. ET
Spread: Chargers -1.5

Three Things to Watch

1. Five up, two down
That is the phrase that perfectly fits the type of season that Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert has had so far. In the first five games of the season, Herbert averaged 315 passing yards per game and threw 13 touchdowns to just three interceptions while completing 67 percent of his attempts. In the last two games, he's thrown for just 209 yards per contest with three touchdowns and three picks while hitting on just 54 percent of his passes. It's good to note that Mike Williams has just four total catches for 46 yards in those last two games, so look for him to be a bigger target to get Herbert's confidence back and this offense chuggin' (or should it be chargin'?) again.

2. Yeah yeah yeah. That old song again.
This is going to sound like a broken record here because this is what I also wrote about the Chargers last week in the preview of their game against New England. But that matchup of the Eagles' running game (sixth in the NFL, 132 ypg) going up against that porous LA rushing defense (allowing 154 ypg) will be a huge factor, possibly more than any other facet of the game. Last week, the Eagles gashed the Lions for 236 yards on the ground while throwing for just 114. And they did this with Miles Sanders on injured reserve, as Boston Scott and Jordan Howard both got 12 carries for a combined 117 yards and four touchdowns. Jalen Hurts added an additional 71 yards on seven carries to account for just the third time in the last 30 years where the Eagles have had three rushers go for more than 50 yards. Can the Chargers' defense at least play better than the lowly Lions?

3. When Philly throws, it Hurts
I know we've harped on the poor rushing defense of the Chargers thus far this season, but it will be a must to step up in that department this week. Because if they can force the Eagles to go to the air, especially if it can be in second- and third-and-long situations, it will be a game-changer for the Bolts. Hurts is 22nd in the league with an 89.2 passer rating. On top of that, he's all the way down at No. 29 in completion rate at 61 percent. The Chargers rank fifth in the league in pass defense (203 ypg), so there is no doubt that is where they excel on that side of the ball.

Final Analysis

The Chargers have to make the cross-country trip, but at least they won't be forced to play in the 10 a.m. West Coast time slot, which seems to affect some teams from the Pacific Time Zone. These two teams have very similar numbers with the Eagles averaging 25.4 points per game and the Chargers averaging 24.6. The defenses are similar, too, with the Eagles holding opponents to 23.9 points per game and the Chargers allowing 25.3.

With these two being pretty similar number-wise you have to consider the strength of schedule that the two have played. The Chargers have played the 17th-toughest slate thus far and the Eagles have had the breeziest time of all teams, checking in at No. 32 in the NFL in schedule strength. With that indicator, I'm hedging my bet on the Bolt Boys getting back on track. But it won't be easy.

Prediction: Chargers 23, Eagles 20

— Written by Eric Sorenson, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He is a college football, college baseball and college hockey addict... and writer. Follow him on Twitter @Stitch_Head.