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Odds Favor Falcons Over Chargers in Preseason Game to be Seen on CBS TV
The San Diego Chargers and Phillip Rivers reached a contract extension last
week that will pay him around $50 million in the next three seasons. The total
value of the contract is in the neighborhood of $92 million. What does that
mean? Rivers had better get this team over the hump and into the Super Bowl. He
had an NFL best QB rating of 105.5 last year and gained 4,009 yards in the air.
All things point towards him having another big year, and the Chargers were
smart to lock him up before his contract ended after this season.
The Chargers have started the preseason with a record of 1-1. They won their last game against last yearís NFC Champions, the Arizona Cardinals. The offensive line did poorly in that event, allowing Rivers to be sacked 4 times in limited action. Their ineffectiveness also hurt the production of Ladainian Tomlinson. The Chargers lost their first game against the Seakhawks by a score of 20-14. If they are to be successful against the Falcons, production from the line is a must. There will be plenty of pressure from the coaching staff to protect the investment they just made in Rivers.
The Atlanta Falcons shocked most of the NFL by making the playoffs last year under rookie QB Matt Ryan and first year coach Mike Smith. They will enter this game with a record of 1-1 after losing to the Lions in preseason week 1, and then taking down the Rams in their next game. Ryan was very strong in the second game, completing 7 of 8 passes for 81 yards and 1 TD. If you didnít already know you would never guess that Ryan has only played one season in the NFL. He looks like a seasoned veteran on the field. Michael Turner did great at RB scoring a TD and running for 65 yards on 8 carries. He will play a huge role in the success of the Falcons this season.
You can expect to see Rivers and Tomlinson getting plenty of playing time in this one. Coaches will be seeking to get them ready for the regular season. The same can be said for Matt Ryan and Michael Turner. Redman and Shockley will also get a few reps for the Falcons. Volek is cemented as the backup for the Chargers and can be counted on if he is needed.
The Falcons have a few injuries to overcome. Thomas Brown (RB) is questionable because of a leg problem. Chris Houston (DB) is trying to recover from a hamstring injury and is also questionable. William Moore (DB) is having knee problems and is questionable. If neither of those DBs sees action it could mean big plays for Rivers and his crew of WRs.
Injuries are even worse for the Chargers, with most of them coming on the defense. Ryon Bingham (DL) is battling an arm injury and is listed as questionable. Larry English (DL) is questionable with a hamstring injury. Jacques Cesaire (DL) is questionable after a calf injury. Steve Gregory (DB) is questionable with cracked ribs. Two WRs, and a LB are also questionable.
The Falcons are currently favored to win at -2.5, and the O/U has been tabbed at 43. If the first two games can be any indication, this one shouldnít make the over. However a weakened Chargers defense could change that. The Falcons have been playing better overall football thus far and will benefit from home field advantage. The Chargers still have to prove they can do a better job of protecting Rivers and allowing Tomlinson to find running room. Iíll go with the Falcons to win by a touchdown.
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