It’s a new year for the Los Angeles Rams and it starts with a clash against their housemates, the Los Angeles Chargers. Beating the playoff-bound Bolts would be a huge boost for L.A., 2022 started with the excitement and anticipation of a run to the Super Bowl title, but things began to go steadily downhill after the February Lombardi Trophy celebration.
The Chargers have been involved in 11 one score games, going 7-4. That record includes two tough three point losses to the Kansas City Chiefs, who beat the Rams 26-10 in Week 12. Knocking off the pass-happy Chargers begins with controlling quarterback Justin Herbert.
Herbert has completed 68 percent of passes for 4254 yards, 21 touchdowns and led five game winning drives. His top receiving target is running back Austin Ekeler with 99 grabs for 647 yards and five touchdowns. The wideouts all have size, second-year man Josh Palmer (6” 1” 210lbs) has 68 catches, while veterans Keenan Allen (6’ 2” 211 lbs.) and Mike Williams (6’ 4” 218 lbs.) have added 53 and 52 respectively. At tight end, Ex-Ram Gerald Everett and Tre’ McKitty split snaps, Everett has 52 catches, while McKitty is primarily a blocker adds 10.
Under the strange but true heading, the Chargers are one of three teams who have run games worse than the Rams. The aforementioned Ekeler has 759 yard at 4.1 per carry and 11 touchdowns. Ex-Ram Sony Michel has 106 yards on the ground and nine receptions, but hasn’t played in over a month as a healthy scratch.
Like the Rams, the Chargers overall defense rates at below middle of the pack. The Bolts struggle against the run, giving up 5.3 yards per tote and 140.5 yards overland per game. Through the air, they give up 201.5 yards per game and allow 61.9 of passes completed, both in the NFL’s top ten.
Brandon Staley’s pass defense schemes use trilateral attack. The Bolts play predominantly in a nickel package and as is the NFL trend, use a fair amount of shell coverage. But they show aggressive play by also mixing in a lot press-man coverage and what Staley calls them “pattern matching” zones, lining up in press-man, but shifting into zone as the play unfolds. Back in 2020 with the Rams, he used these schemes, and more importantly, the disguising of them to lead the NFL in least points and total yardage allowed.
How to follow the game
Date: January 1, 2023
Kickoff: 1:25 pm PST
Location: SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Ca.
Watch it live: Regionally on CBS and DirecTV Sunday Ticket.
Live stream: Sling TV, L.A. Rams official app, NFL Plus, Hulu Live, fubo TV, DirecTV STREAM (formerly known as AT&T TV), and many others.
Listen: ESPN LA 710 AM and affiliates, KLSD 1360 AM (San Diego), KKUU HD2 (Palm Springs), KTIE 590 AM (Riverside), KAVL 610 AM and 106.7 FM (Lancaster), KSMA 1240 AM and 99.5 FM (Santa Maria), and KMET 1490 AM (Banning), 93.1 Jack FM, and Tu Liga 1330 AM and affiliates, KTMZ 1220 AM (Pomona), KWAC 1490 AM (Bakersfield), KGST 1600 AM (Fresno), KCAL 1410 AM (Riverside), and KXLM 102.9 FM/KOXR 910 AM (both in Oxnard/Ventura).
Current betting odds at DraftKings Sportsbook
Line: LA Rams +6.5 -110
Over/under total: 42 -110
Money line: LA Rams +220 / LA Chargers -260