Seahawks vs Chargers NFL Week 7 Picks, Prediction
Steph Chambers/Getty Images. Pictured: Geno Smith.
- The Chargers are favored at home against the Seahawks this afternoon.
- Seattle's offense struggled last week but is still one of the best in the NFL.
- John LanFranca breaks down the matchup and makes his betting pick below.
Seahawks vs. Chargers Odds
Watching football all day on a Sunday afternoon, eating an obscene amount of nachos and fading Chargers offensive coordinator Joe Lombardi are all near the top of my list of favorite things to do during the fall.
Offensive line injuries have magnified the Chargers' broken offensive system, and they have now been installed as more than a field goal favorite against the second-best offense in football when looking at yards per play.
Los Angeles is being overvalued in the betting market, and we will once again capitalize on the perception that their talent will win out. Here are my Seahawks vs Chargers picks and predictions, as well as my best bet.
Seahawks vs. Chargers Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how the Seahawks and Chargers match up statistically:
Seahawks vs. Chargers DVOA Breakdown
Justin Herbert was pressured on 37.7% of his dropbacks on Monday Night Football. The Seahawks defense (21st in pressure rate) is not nearly as formidable as the Broncos defense, but the fact remains that Lombardi is calling plays to first and foremost protect his quarterback.
The lack of a downfield passing attack for the Chargers is jarring. Herbert has the fifth lowest intended air yards per attempt for passers with 100 attempts, sandwiched just between Matt Ryan and Baker Mayfield. This style of play leads to long drives and numerous must-have third downs.
As mentioned, the Seattle defense is not a dominant unit by any stretch of the imagination. However, the Seahawks have shown significant improvement in the past couple of weeks, now boasting the 22nd best defense, according to DVOA, after being 31st in the league just two weeks ago. In fact, in Week 5, they turned in a middle-of-the-pack performance (17th) and followed that up in Week 6 with the second best defensive performance of the week in the NFL vs the Cardinals (-35.2%).
Seattle's strongest advanced metric matches up perfectly with the Chargers offense, as the Seahawks have a top-10 defense on first down according to DVOA, which will force the Chargers into long down-and-distance conversion attempts. It all adds up to giving the Seahawks defense multiple chances per possession at getting off the field on third down.
When you hear about the Chargers defense, the word talent will undoubtedly be brought up. However, it hasn’t translated. The Chargers are the 29th ranked defense on first down, according to DVOA, and 25th overall in yards per play (5.9). They have given up multiple touchdown passes to every quarterback they have faced outside of Jacoby Brissett and Russell Wilson. Their rush defense is the worst in football in terms of yards per carry allowed and is getting gashed to the tune of 5.83 yards per tote.
We know Kenneth Walker can create game-changing plays. No running back has forced a missed tackle at a higher rate than Walker (22 on only 44 carries). Overall, the Seahawks have 10 20+ yard gains on the ground, trailing only the Browns, a team that has 58 more rushing attempts. I, once again, expect a strong offensive performance from this surprising Seattle offense.
Geno Smith is playing at a high level, and the sportsbooks haven't properly adjusted.
Smith is 16-10-2 in his career against the spread as an underdog and more importantly, 8-2 over his past 10 games catching points. In general, underdogs on the road in the month of October seem to be quite undervalued. Over the past five years, underdogs of more than three points are 70-46-2 (60.3%) against the spread in October, a 15.8% return on investment.
The Chargers are not an explosive offense and should not be favored by 5+ points. Their only win of the season greater than five points came against the Texans in a game in which they won the turnover battle and still had to score a touchdown with 2:34 left in the game to win by 10. The Texans just happened to also put up their highest offensive yardage total of the season (346 yards) in that contest.
I expect Seattle’s highly efficient offense and improved defense to win the first down battle on both sides of the football. Sprinkle some on the moneyline if you so choose — this will be a close game — but I will gladly take the points with the Seahawks.
QuickSlip: Seahawks +5 | Play to 4.5