A pair of old AFC West rivals will get together for a preseason game Saturday night as the Los Angeles Chargers host the Seattle Seahawks. While they haven’t quite settled into their new home at the StubHub Center, the Chargers are listed as 3-point favorites in this game, in large part because they’re the home team.
Neither team won their preseason opener. The Seahawks put together a nice, touchdown-scoring drive behind Russell Wilson in the 1st quarter but couldn’t get much going offensively the rest of the game. Despite getting a defensive touchdown late, Seattle lost at home to the Colts 19-17.
The Chargers played away from home against the Cardinals, losing 24-17 after holding a 4th-quarter lead. Philip Rivers was absent from the game entirely, as Geno Smith, Cardale Jones, and Nic Shimonek all saw extended action. Those three combined for 49 pass attempts as opposed to the Chargers attempting just 24 running plays, six of which came from the three quarterbacks.
Sorting Things Out
As most teams are this time of year, the Chargers are still trying to figure some things out. Most notably, they’re trying to figure out who will be their backup quarterback this year, which explains why they threw the ball so much in their opener. This likely means that Rivers will see limited action, giving more snaps to Smith and Jones, who will both have a chance to air it out. Of course, this could end up working in their favor in a preseason game, assuming both quarterbacks can move the ball against Seattle’s backups.
At the same time, the Chargers appear to have a kicking competition on their hands between Caleb Sturgis and Roberto Aguayo. Neither has really stood out thus far and if this ends up being a close game, missing a kick or two could end up being the difference.
Seattle’s preseason, thus far, has been largely defined by injuries. Rookie running back Rashaad Penny, who’s expected to be the starter right away, will miss the rest of the preseason because of a broken finger. Wide receiver Doug Baldwin is also sitting out the preseason. Like most teams, the Seahawks aren’t going to take any chances with injured players, which is smart but could hurt them in terms of getting positive results in exhibition games.
Those injuries combined with the Seahawks already fielding a younger team than in past years hindered them in their preseason opener. Even after Wilson orchestrated a 75-yard touchdown drive in the 1st quarter, the Seahawks gained a total of just 195 yards. Of course, the Seattle defense also performed well in the game, bending but not breaking to force the Colts to settle for field goals.
This game is tough to call, in part because the Chargers played well last week despite the loss. Their biggest problem was turnovers, a problem that could repeat itself against the Seattle defense. However, the Seahawks showed nothing offensively last week when Wilson wasn’t on the field, and he’s still not going to play more than a few series this week. Ultimately, the Chargers will be the team airing it out and going for the win in the second half, and that’ll be the difference. Bet on the Chargers -3 to beat the Seahawks.