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Detroit Lions vs. San Diego Chargers Predictions, Odds, Picks and Betting Preview – September 13, 2015

Detroit Lions vs. San Diego Chargers Predictions, Odds, Picks and Betting Preview – September 13, 2015

Despite a collection of studs on their offense, the Detroit Lions were perceived more as a defensive team last season. But with Ndamukong Suh gone along with a few key pieces on defense, the Lions will have to unlock the massive potential of their offense that features the likes of Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, and Joique Bell.

As for the San Diego Chargers, Philip Rivers is looking to prove that he’s worth the money the Chargers guaranteed him over the offseason. Will Detroit hand the Chargers a loss right in front of the Bolts’ home fans? Or will San Diego expose the Suh-less Lions defense?

Read on for more about this matchup. For more Week 1 game preview, you can click here for Steelers vs. Patriots and here for Browns vs. Jets.

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Detroit Lions vs. San Diego Chargers Betting Preview and Prediction

Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego

When: Sunday, September 13, 4:05 PM ET

Line: Detroit Lions (+3) vs. San Diego Chargers (-3); total: 46.0see all NFL lines

TV Broadcast: Fox

Betting on the Detroit Lions

[sc:NFL240banner ]The potential was there for the Lions’ offense last season, but for some reason, Matthew Stafford and company ranked just 19th in the NFL with only 340.8 yards per game average. This time around, the Lions expect that changes over the offseason, particularly on their offensive line, will result into a more efficient offense.

A rickety Lions’ O-line allowed 45 sacks last season and partly caused the backfield to sag; the Lions were just 28th in rushing yards with only 88.9 yards per game. But by using their first-round pick on offensive lineman Laken Tomlinson and positioning him alongside Riley Reiff and Larry Warford, Stafford should receive better protection and provide the backfield a wider route to burst through against San Diego.

Detroit’s offensive line will be tested early by a Chargers’ defense that retained most of its pieces from the one that gave up 124.1 rushing yards per game and 214.2 through the air.

Speaking of the backfield, the Lions are poised to see what second-round pick Ameer Abdullah and Joique Bell could do. Abdullah has been quite a revelation during the preseason and is in line to complement Bell in the backfield. Bell had 860 rushing yards and seven rushing scores a year ago to pace the team.

With a seemingly lax Chargers defense and an improved Lions offensive line, the duo has a chance to star come Week 1. That being said, the Lions should remain a pass-heavy team, considering that Stafford has at his disposal the tandem of Golden Tate (1,331 receiving yards, four receiving touchdowns in 2014) and Calvin Johnson (1,077 yards, eight touchdowns).

The Lions’ defense, meanwhile, might regress with the offseason departures of Ndamukong Suh and Nick Fairley, two of Detroit’s top performers in 2014. Suh will be replaced by five-time Pro Bowler Haloti Ngata. Last season, the Lions were No. 1 against the run (69.3 rushing yards allowed per game) and 13th against the pass (231.6 passing yards allowed per game).

The under is 9-1 in Detroit’s last 10 road games.

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Betting on the San Diego Chargers

Is there enough juice left in the arms of Philip Rivers? Based on the four-year, $84-million contract extension he signed in the offseason, the Chargers obviously believes that the 33-year old quarterback has a lot of gas left in the tank. Rivers will use some of that fuel in Week 1, when the Chargers host Detroit for the first time since 2007.

Rivers, who finished 2014 with 4,286 passing yards and 31 passing touchdowns, will find the a familar group of receivers he had last year made up of Antonio Gates, Keenan Allen, and Malcolm Floyd. Stevie Johnson was brought in to replace Eddie Royal. Gates, however, will miss San Diego’s first four games because of suspension.

That leaves Ladarius Green with the lead tight end role. In 2014, Green was targeted just 23 times, catching 19 for 226 yards with no touchdowns scored. Gates’ absence could mean increased targets for Allen (783 receiving yards, six four touchdowns) and Floyd, who topped the team with 856 receiving yards to go along with six receiving scores.

But before the Chargers dream of Rivers being able to connect to his weapons, the team’s offensive line must first secure their quarterback. Remember that in the Chargers’ last game of the 2014 season, Rivers was sacked seven times for a loss of 42 yards in a 19-7 loss to Kansas City.

Rivers, however, should attract less heat from opposing defenses with the Chargers adding rookie Melvin Gordon to their stable of running backs. Gordon was drafted in the first round to add life to San Diego’s moribund running game that ranked 30th (85.4 rushing yards per game) in the league last season.

San Diego’s defense, meanwhile, must find a way to contain Detroit’s talented wideouts in Tate and Johnson. Brandon Flowers and Jason Verrett will be tasked to cover the Lions’ receivers. Flowers had three interceptions last season, while Verrett only had one.

Writer’s Prediction

Detroit wins (+3) wins, 27-21.

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Written by Rex

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