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Two teams with only a breath of playoff hope left will meet on Sunday when the Los Angeles Chargers travel to Jacksonville to face the Jaguars. On Monday, Jacksonville announced that Gardner Minshew would be taking over as starting quarterback in place of Nick Foles. Los Angeles enters this game with on a three-game losing streak, which was capped by a heartbreaking loss to the Denver Broncos. The Chargers tied the game at 20-20 with nine seconds left, but the Broncos took advantage of a pass interference penalty and hit a 53-yard field goal as time expired to win the game.
Chargers coming off crushing lossLos Angeles comes into Sunday’s game off of another crushing loss. The Chargers tied their game against the Denver Broncos with nine seconds to play, but a long pass interference penalty got called on the Broncos’ only offensive play, which allowed Denver to kick a game-winning field goal from 53 yards out. Now, Los Angeles is sitting at 4-8 on the season and 3-8-1 against-the-spread. The Chargers are on a three-game losing skid, dropping games against Oakland and Kansas City prior to the emotional loss in Denver. The Chargers had found a little bit of momentum prior to that, winning games against the Chicago Bears and Green Bay Packers to get to 4-5 on the season.
same focus. pic.twitter.com/3qU0a2xv6Q— Los Angeles Chargers (@Chargers) December 5, 2019
Veteran quarterback Philip Rivers has had a difficult season. Rivers has thrown for 3,434 yards and 17 touchdowns, but he has added 15 interceptions—one of the worst marks in the NFL. Running back Melvin Gordon has a team-high 468 rushing yards on 120 carries, including four touchdowns. Austin Ekeler has carried the rock 104 times for 380 yards and three scores. Veteran wide receiver Keenan Allen has been Rivers’ favorite target once again, catching 76 passes for 864 yards and five touchdowns. Mike Williams has 38 receptions on 68 targets for 778 yards, but he has failed to reach the end zone. Ekeler has added 69 catches for 718 yards and seven touchdowns out of the backfield. Tight end Hunter Henry has 41 receptions for 497 yards and three scores.
Jaguars have Minshew back at helmJacksonville lost Foles in the first game of the season when he went down with a broken collarbone. That’s when “Minshew Mania” ensued. However, Foles was inserted back into the starting role when he returned from his injury. Now, the Jaguars are turning back to Minshew after Foles lost his last three starts by a combined 59 points. Jacksonville won four out of its six games following losses in the first two contests of the season to get to .500 on the year. However, the Jaguars are now on a four-game losing skid and have been blown out in all four games. The most recent loss was a 28-11 defeat at home against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, who are just 5-7 on the season.
Minshew is back in the fold at quarterback following a disappointing stretch from Foles after his recovery. Minshew has thrown for 2,432 yards and 14 touchdowns this year, while adding five interceptions. The rookie has also been mobile, running the ball 44 times for 243 yards. Former LSU running back Leonard Fournette leads the team with 989 rushing yards on 220 attempts. He has scored three touchdowns and is averaging 4.5 yards per carry. Ryqeull Armstead has added 21 carries for 65 yards. The team’s leading wide receiver is D.J. Chark, who has caught 58 passes for 881 yards and eight touchdowns. Chris Conley has 37 receptions for 625 yards and two touchdowns, while Dede Westbrook has 49 receptions for 544 yards and two scores. Fournette has added 65 catches for 444 yards out of the backfield. Linebacker Myles Jack was placed on injured reserve.
- 2-5 ATS in its last seven home games
- 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games after scoring less than 15 points in its previous game
- 3-7-1 ATS in its last 11 games after accumulating less than 90 yards rushing in its previous game.
Los Angeles is:
- 6-1-1 ATS in its last eight road games vs. a team with a losing home record
- 10-3 ATS in its last 13 games in Week 14
- 9-4-1 ATS in its last 14 road games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Los Angeles has had some heartbreaking losses this season, but as long as the Chargers stay focused and motivated, they should win this game against Jacksonville. I doubt Minshew is going to be able to rally the troops at this point in the season, as the Jaguars have been getting demolished by almost every team they have faced lately. Los Angeles has covered the spread in eight of their last 11 road games against a team with a losing record. Jacksonville is 9-25 in its last 34 games as a home underdog. I like the Chargers, who have covered their last seven games against the Jaguars, to get the job done here.
Prediction: Los Angeles -3
Full-Game Total Pick
The total has already shifted down from its opening number of 44.5. In Los Angeles’ last 20 games played in the month of December, the total has gone under 16 times. The Chargers simply have trouble moving the ball when the weather gets colder. Jacksonville’s offense is not going to miraculously bounce back into shape just because of the quarterback change. The Jaguars have not scored more than 20 points in five weeks, so there is no reason to expect Jacksonville to uphold their end of the bargain. I like this game to follow the numbers, which are all pointing toward the under.
Prediction: Under 43