Category Archives: Los Angeles Chargers

NFL Week 6 Power Rankings

The NFL season continues to move along. Week 5 saw some surprising finishes, but there are still a pair of undefeated teams that remain. After those two powerhouses, the NFL power rankings are muddied a bit. We take a look at teams 1-10 again this week, trying to sort out who is for real and which teams still have a bit more to prove:

1) The Los Angeles Rams           2018 Record: 5-0          Previous Week: 1 ( – )

The Rams were able to hold off their division rival, the Seattle Seahawks, to move to 5-0. Jared Goff converted a crucial 4th-and-1 late in the 4th quarter on a QB sneak to end the game. The Rams offense has been amazingly efficient, as they lead the NFL in yards per offensive play (7.4) and rank T-4th in fewest turnovers lost (5). Goff ranks 2nd in the league in passer rating (119.7); behind only Drew Brees. The Rams defense also currently ranks 6th in points allowed (19.6 PPG) and has allowed the 3rd fewest attempts inside the red zone (12).

2) The Kansas City Chiefs          2018 Record: 5-0          Previous Week: 2 ( – )

The Chiefs rolled right through the Jags 30-14 and remain one of two unbeaten teams. Kansas City’s defense stepped up big, intercepting Blake Bortles four times. The Chiefs defense came into the game with only two interceptions in the team’s first four games. Patrick Mahomes  had his first game this year without a TD and threw his first two interceptions of the season, but was able to get enough offense going to down the Jags. The Chiefs offense ranks 2nd in points per game (35.0) and ranks T-1st in fewest turnovers (3). The Chiefs are also the 3rd most efficient team at scoring inside the red zone (76.2%).

3) The New Orleans Saints        2018 Record: 5-0         Previous Week: 9 ( +6 )

Drew Brees, this week, became the new all-time leader in passing yards in the NFL. He did so in a 43-19 drubbing of the Redskins in the Superdome. Brees leads this Saints offense that ranks 1st in points per game (36.0) and 2nd in first downs (128). The Saints also got RB Mark Ingram back this week from suspension, and he contributed immediately rushing for two TDs. Brees found rookie WR Tre’Quan Smith three times for 111 yards and two scores, the first of which a 62 yard TD that gave his QB the all-time passing yards record.

4) The Chicago Bears            2018 Record: 3-1            Previous Week: 3 ( -1 )

The Bears had a week four bye after their week three win over the Bucs. For a team that came into the season with modest expectations, the Bears find themselves ranking 2nd in scoring defense (16.3 PPG) and have allowed the fewest trips inside the red zone (7). The Bears’ next matchup is a Dolphins team that ranks 28th in scoring (19.8 PPG).

5) The Cincinnati Bengals           2018 Record: 4-1          Previous Week: 5 ( – )

The Bengals moved to 4-1 after overcoming a 17-0 2nd half deficit to beat the Dolphins. A Bengals defense, which has struggled this season, blanked the Fins for the final 24 plus minutes of game time. The Bengals’ only blemish thus far was a loss on the road in Carolina. The Bengals rank 4th in scoring offense (30.6 PPG) and continues to have a top five scoring offense in the red zone (70.6%).

6) The New England Patriots        2018 Record: 3-2           Previous Week: NR

The Patriots, after some early season offensive struggles, have rebounded with back-to-back wins. They dominated the Dolphins last Sunday, and then beat the Colts last Thursday on a short week to move to 3-2. In the process, the Pats have moved to 6th in red zone scoring (68.8%) and rank 9th in points per game (26.6). The Patriots defense also ranks 9th in scoring (21.6) and has forced 10 turnovers (6th).

7) The Los Angeles Chargers         2018 Record: 3-2         Previous Week: NR

The Chargers took down the Raiders this past week to move to 3-2. Philip Rivers currently ranks 3rd in the NFL at QB rating (116.4) and leads this Chargers offense that ranks 8th in scoring (27.4 PPG). The Chargers offense has also taken care of the football, ranking T-4th in turnovers lost (5). The 2018 Bolts’ defense are T-10th in turnovers (8), and their only two losses have come against the Chiefs and Rams.

8) The Carolina Panthers          2018 Record: 3-2          Previous Week: NR

This past Sunday, the Panthers held off a Giants team desperate for a win. Graham Gano kicked a game-winning 63 yard FG with 0:01 remaining. The Panthers offense ranks 12th in scoring offense (26.0 PPG), and have only committed four turnovers thus far, which is good for 3rd in the NFL. The Panthers defense is ranked 15th in scoring defense (22.8 PPG) and is T-5th best at stopping conversions on 3rd down (30.8%).

9) The Jacksonville Jaguars         2018 Record: 3-2         Previous Week: 4 ( -5 )

The Jaguars hit a lofty speed bump in their 2018 season last week, falling to the red hot Chiefs 30-14. The Jags have had trouble scoring this season; their 20.4 PPG ranks 26th in the league. That said, they still rank T-3rd in scoring defense (17.2 PPG) and are the 2nd stingiest team on defense inside the red zone (33.3%). That defense is also the 6th best in the NFL at getting off the field on 3rd down (30.8%).

10) The Baltimore Ravens           2018 Record: 3-2           Previous Week: 6 ( -4 )

The Ravens lost a tough, divisional game on the road in OT this past week to a reinvigorated Cleveland Browns team. The Ravens struggled mightily on 3rd down (4/16) against their division foe. The Ravens defense, however, still ranks 1st in scoring defense (15.4 PPG) and 1st at getting off the field on 3rd down (28.8%). Their defense is also T-3rd fewest red zone attempts allowed (12). The Ravens offense has come up big inside the red zone, ranking T-8th in converting red zone scores (65.0%).

12 NFL Trends To Note

We’ve hit the quarter-mark on the season and it’s time to look at some players that are trending in the right direction and some that are heading the wrong way:

  1. Nyheim Hines has played on 70.5% of the Colts offensive snaps during the past two games. Marlon Mack missed both of those contests and three out of four this season with injury woes.
  2. Hines is averaging 8.3 targets per game when Mack sits. Mack is also not expected to play on Thursday.
  3. Over the past two weeks, Eric Ebron has run the second-most routes of all tight ends. He saw 21 targets over that span and should be in all lineups at least until Jack Doyle returns to full health.
  4. Sony Michel accounted for 69.4% of the Patriots’ backfield carries on Sunday, producing 112 yards.
  5. Michel received nine red zone carries over the last two weeks, which is six more than the next highest back (James White).
  6. Kerryon Johnson continues to look good when he’s on the field, gaining 55 yards on nine carries against the Cowboys in week 4. He only saw 20 snaps, running just seven routes, seeing just one target. On the plus side, he handled on the Lions‘ only red zone carry.
  7. Larry Fitzgerald only made three catches during Josh Rosen‘s first start, though better times may be on the horizon. The future Hall-of-Famer recorded a team-high 26% target share from the rookie. Expect brighter days, especially with a soft schedule approaching.
  8. Nelson Agholor is nice buy-low candidate. Alshon Jeffery stole the receiving show for the Eagles in his first game back, but Agholor actually had more targets. Agholor is still running nearly 70% of his routes from the slot, averaging 8.5 targets per contest.
  9. Jordan Howard has seen his snap rate decline in each of the past three weeks, going from 72.7% to 62.2% to 54.1% from weeks 2-4. The Bears were up big in the first half thanks to Mitchell Trubisky’s miracle 6-TD game, though Howard only saw one carry.
  10. Melvin Gordon is averaging 8.4 targets per game and his increased use in the passing game (something he was already a big part of last season) makes him a top-five player in all fantasy formats.
  11. What is going on with Kenyan Drake? He was only on the field for 44.9% of Miami’s offensive snaps on Sunday and ran just one more route than Frank Gore. The Dolphins just lost starting center Daniel Kilgore for the season so the sledding won’t get any easier for Alabama product.
  12. In five games without Leonard Fournette in the lineup, Blake Bortles is averaging over 34 pass attempts per game, including 45 and 34 attempts in weeks 2 and 3, respectively.

NFL Teams That Could Make Their Return to the Postseason in 2018

Every year, it seems, a host of unlikely NFL teams surprises many experts, and fans alike, in crashing the playoff party. Last year, the Bills returned to playoff football, which snapped the longest current drought in American pro sports. The new NFL playoff draught title is bestowed upon the Browns, who haven’t made the playoffs since 2002. The revolving door of the NFL playoffs should keep turning in 2018, and here are a few teams that could make a return to the postseason.

The New York Giants (Odds To Make The Playoffs Entering Season: +280)

Say what you will about Eli Manning, but the Giants had many more issues last year than just at the QB position. It seemed to many NFL insiders that former head coach Ben McAdoo had “lost the locker room”. Combined with the Giants’ rookie coaching issues was a plethora of injuries. The Giants fell from Super Bowl hopefuls to the bottom of the NFC East. Now, enter in new head coach Pat Shurmur, who helped to turn the Vikings offense back into a top 10 scoring offense for the first time since 2009 when they finished 2nd. And speaking of 2nds, more importantly, the Giants drafted star running back Saquon Barkley 2nd overall in this past April’s draft. Add in a healthy Odell Beckham Jr to the mix, along with rookie standout TE Evan Engram entering his 2nd year, the Giants’ already impressive defensive unit looks like it now has the offensive fire-power to carry them back to the playoffs.

The Green Bay Packers (-180)

You need not over think this particular team scenario. If Aaron Rodgers is healthy, the Packers will have a great chance to win double-digit games. Even with the departure of Jordy Nelson, the Pack have a solid #1 option in Davante Adams, who has posted back to back double digit TD seasons. Add in the newly acquired Jimmy Graham and veteran slot man Randall Cobb, the Packers offense should be among the best in 2018. On the defensive side, Clay Matthews and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix are joined by FA acquisition Muhammad Wilkerson. The Packers defense will look to improve upon their 2017 season, where they ranked 7th worst in points allowed and 5th worst in forcing 4th down. All in all, the Packers look to be much improved heading into 2018, and with Aaron Rodgers calling plays, are likely to return to playoff football.

The Los Angeles Chargers (-150)

The Chargers will look to build on an impressive 9-7 finish to 2017. The defense that ranked 3rd best in points allowed last season will suffer a slight setback, losing CB Jason Verrett to a torn Achilles in late July. Rookie DB Derwin James (17th pick) will look to make an immediate impact in the secondary. On the D-line, Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa return to lead the defensive front that ranked 5th in sacks a season ago. On offense, Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon head a group that last year ranked 4th in yards per game. Plagued by too many injuries in 2017, the Chargers look healthy and ready to contend for a division title in 2018.

*Odds via The Westgate Superbook