Chargers vs. Texans prediction and breakdown

Chargers (1-2) AT Texans (0-2-1)

When: Sunday, 10 a.m.

Where: NRG Stadium

TV/Radio: CBS2; 98.7 FM; 105.5 FM/94.3 FM (Spanish)

Line: Chargers by 5 points

Notable injury designations: Chargers: WR Keenan Allen (hamstring) is out. TE Donald Parham (hamstring) and C Corey Linsley are questionable.

Texans: OL Austin Deculus (ankle), TE Brevin Jordan (ankle) are both out. TE Pharoah Brown (hip/shoulder), DL Kurt Hinish (foot), LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (back), DB Isaac Yiadom (thigh) are all questionable.

What’s at stake? For the Chargers it is a chance to get back in the win column after a two-game loss. Especially after losing Rashawn Slater and Joey Bosa, for part of the season, they need a boost. Plus, they need to jump back into AFC West contention. For the Texans, they finally get a victory this season. They are one play away in the past three games of being 3-0 unfortunately they are 0-2-1. Especially being in the AFC South they can get back into their division race with a win.

Who’s better? No offense to the Texans, but the Chargers are far more talented, but will it show on the field? That is the real question. The Chargers were the best team in week 16 of 2021 but running back Rex Burkhead ran them over. Los Angeles needs to stay disciplined on defense and make their tackles while the offense needs to try to establish the run against the worst run defense in the NFL. Austin Ekeler, Joshua Kelley, and Sony Michel should each get 15 carries and let them decide the game. So far, the Chargers offense has been one dimensional so this could be the perfect chance to establish the run.

Matchup to watch: Chargers left tackle Jamaree Salyer will be the player to watch no matter who lines up opposite him. This is his first career start in the NFL and has the biggest job, which is protect quarterback Justin Herbert’s blindside. The coaching staff and the players believe in the sixth-round pick. Salyer was the Georgia Bulldogs left tackle last season, so he has experience facing top talent. Sunday will be his first test in the NFL. 

Chargers win if: they can establish the run. Last season, the Chargers offense ran (no pun intended) smoother because they were able to run the ball more consistently. They need Austin Ekeler to be his explosive self like the 20 touchdowns back he was in 2021. Joshua Kelley is a player who should be seeing more touches especially because he seems like the most explosive out of the three backs. Michel seems like the muscle who has some juice that could help the offense. The Chargers need to run the football on Sunday to win.

Fantasy sleeper: Mike Williams. He had a quiet game against the Jaguars, so expect him to have a big game on Sunday. He should see a lot of attention from rookie cornerback Derek Stingley since Keenan Allen is out but that shouldn’t be a problem. Expect Williams to be receiver one for Herbert.

Prediction: We have entered Halloween season and NRG Stadium was a house of horrors for the Chargers last season. It will not be that on Sunday. Chargers win 27-18 and get back in the win column.

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