Chargers vs. Falcons preview and prediction

Chargers (4-3) AT Falcons (4-4)

When: Sunday, 10 a.m.

Where: Mercedes-Benz Stadium

TV/Radio: FOX; 98.7 FM; 105.5 FM/94.3 FM (Spanish)

Line: Chargers by 3 points

Notable injury designations: Chargers: WR Keenan Allen (hamstring), K Dustin Hopkins (hamstring), OLB Chris Rumph (knee), WR Mike Williams (ankle), DT Jerry Tillery (back), TE Donald Parham (hamstring) are out. WR DeAndre Carter (illness) and LB Amen Ogbongbemiga (groin) are questionable.

Texans: CB A.J. Terrell (hamstring) and G E are both out. S Erik Harris (ankle) is questionable.

What’s at stake? For the Chargers, it is a chance to be a game behind the Chiefs and gain some much-needed momentum. They have a lot of injuries at the moment, with two of their best offensive weapons out for Sunday. Plus, they could use a victory after the beating the Seahawks gave them before the bye. For the Falcons it is easy… staying as the lead dog of the division. They are at the top of the NFC South, and with the rest of the division playing tough games, this is a way they can separate themselves.

Who’s better? Shrug… The Chargers are missing many key players, but I guess even with the players they have, they are the better team? Yes, it is a question because who knows which team will show up. This team is very much back to being Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The Falcons have talent, but they have injuries, plus they have traded some away. So, the Chargers are the better team.

Matchup to watch: Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert vs. Falcons secondary. Joshua Palmer is the leading receiver coming into the game with Michael Bandy and Jason Moore. This will also test the play calling of offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi because, without two of the top receivers, they will need other players to get open and make plays. These young receivers will need to step up on Sunday.

Chargers win if: they can establish the run. The Falcons are one of the worst defenses against the run, so the Chargers will need to exploit that, but they should try to do it with all three running backs. Have a healthy rotation, and keep guys fresh. They will have a healthy offensive line going into the game, so it will be necessary to run the football.

Fantasy sleeper: Josh Palmer. The second-year receiver has shown glimpses of what he could possibly be for this offense. He has performances where he makes a clutch catch and games with almost no impact. So far, he is up and down. This Sunday, he could take that next step and might be able to help an offense that is hurting.

Prediction: The Chargers have too many injuries to overcome this one, Falcons win 23-17 and stay at the top of the NFC South.

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