The match-up between the Detroit Lions and the Los Angeles Chargers might be more even than you think.
The Chargers were one of the NFL's best teams in 2018, with a 12-4 record behind only Patrick Mahomes' record wrecking Chiefs in the AFC West. Their offseason was quiet and undistinguished, as they added no big free agents or suffered any harsh losses, however, their performance in the 2019 season opener against the Indianapolis Colts was questionable.
A Flawed Defense
Just like the Lions did against the Arizona Cardinals, the Chargers blew a 15-point lead and went into overtime 24-24. Unlike the Lions, the Chargers defeated their opponent with a touchdown in overtime and won 30-24.
The Colts had no problem running through the Chargers’ defense. Los Angeles allowed 140 yards on 32 carries. The Chargers' defense was second-worst run as of week one per DVOA. (Defense-adjusted value over average). That being said, Chargers linebacker, Thomas Davis, proved to be a significant addition to the team, piling on 14 tackles in his debut against the Colts.
Riddled with injuries
The Chargers’ biggest worries are the number of injuries their players have sustained.
Left tackle Russell Okung‘s illness forced the Chargers to start their undrafted left tackle, Trent Scott. Scott's second-ever regular-season start proved to be dismal, making mistakes that have been termed, “season killers”. Scott gave up two strip-sacks that the Chargers, fortunately, recovered from, but the Chargers will need a better third start from him this Sunday.
The Chargers are also suffering a short handedness of their cornerbacks, as Trevor Williams hasn't practiced since week one of the pre-season, and Michael Davis suffered a hamstring injury early in last Sunday's game.
Anthony Lynn said CB Michael Davis (hamstring) is going to miss some time. Chargers now have just three healthy corners on active roster.
— Eric Williams (@eric_d_williams) September 9, 2019
Their biggest and newest injury to be concerned with is that of starting tight end, Hunter Henry. Henry suffered a tibia plateau fracture in the opener against the Colts and has been ruled out for Sunday's game.
The Lions didn't take full advantage of Arizona's weak offensive line last week, but the Chargers’ weak defensive line could enable them to be more aggressive toward Chargers’ quarterback Philip Rivers.
The final score will obviously be the tell-all this Sunday, but it's looking bleak for Los Angeles.
Tune in to watch the Lions take on the Chargers at Ford Field on September 15 at 1:00 p.m.