Straight Up: San Diego
Against the Spread: San Diego +2.5
Over/Under: Over 52
The Lions should win at home, but momentum and player maturity favor the Chargers. Keep your wallet in your pocket.
I have to detour one second here on the Norv Turner issue. Mike Ditka once said that yelling at the young, doe-eyed Jim Harbaugh back in the 80’s was like yelling at Bambi.
I have the same feeling when I criticize Turner. By every possible account over the last 25 years, Norv is a helluva great guy. I have never heard a bad word about him as a human.
And I hate it when people say nice guys can’t win. That’s why I was so thrilled when Tony Dungy won the Super Bowl.
And, yes, due respect for his downright brilliant game plan Sunday night in crushing the heretofore-dominating Ravens defense. However…
Here’s a heart-warming story: In September, Turner realized that he was going to have to part ways with WR Laurent Robinson.
The San Diego coach did a very nice thing. He called his old buddy Jason Garrett (current Cowboy coach and former backup QB when Turner was the Cowboys’ offensive coordinator) and gave Garrett the tip to grab Robinson off waivers.
A happy ending for all ensued—Robinson got a job, Garrett and Tony Romo got a WR who is tailor-made for their system.
I’ve really gone both ways with how I feel about this. On the one hand, that was a very decent thing to do. I hope as a person I would do the same. After all, you are in the AFC West, the Cowboys are in the NFC East. What are the chances that you’ll meet in the Super Bowl where Robinson could hurt you?
On the other hand, isn’t this the perfect example of Norv Turner’s lack of killer instinct? Isn’t every other team your enemy? Why would you give them a weapon like this? You see where I’m going, right?
Can we please just fire both Norv Turner and A.J. Smith and start over?
Now that I have that out of my system, let’s applaud the Chargers for a major nationally televised victory. There really aren’t enough superlatives to describe what a complete beatdown they gave the Ravens.
San Diego dominated in every phase of the game and looked like Super Bowl contenders. What the….?
Rivers completed 75 percent of his passes and all but 60 passing yards were on plays gaining more than 10 yards. Now that the two WRing Vincents (Brown and Jackson) are back on the field, Philip is over 70 percent in completions over those 10 yards for the last three games.
Runners Ryan Mathews and Mike Tolbert were both effective, combining for 130 yards and three TDs. I’ve been a Mathews critic, but I finally saw the burst that must have made A.J. Smith draft the kid.
Special mention to a Chargers’ offensive line that has been musical blockers all year. They rallied for excellent protection and run-blocking, which is all you can possibly ask.
The defense made Joe Flacco look like the junior varsity QB and stopped Ray Rice dead in his tracks except for one 22-yard scamper. Even Anquan Boldin was neutralized.
Unfortunately, LB Travis LaBoy hurt his knee and is questionable. That would be truly unfortunate, since the Chargers linebacking corps has been hit hard by injuries already in 2011.
I still worry about Nick Novak as a kicker, but you can’t have everything.
Given the alarming lack of discipline on the Lions as a team, I am concerned that they might have a letdown after their scintillating comeback win over Oakland last week.
Let’s not forget that two players created that win: QB Matthew Stafford and WR Calvin Johnson. Together they racked up 214 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winner at 39 seconds left on the clock.
No, of course it’s not that simple. Ndamukong Suh was back terrorizing the middle of the field and blocking the potentially fatal field-goal attempt. The “other” Detroit WR, Nate Burleson, caught 81 yards worth of footballs and scored too.
But it was Johnson’s inevitable breakout game that put them over the top.
I think that the Chargers defense will try to not allow Johnson to make it two in a row.
San Diego safety Eric Weddle is one of the best, but the Ravens’ passing attack is high-school level when compared with the Lions.
Rookie Bolts CB Marcus Gilchrist may very well be targeted by Stafford as he tries to cover either Burleson or Johnson. I’d make an appropriately snotty remark except that Mr. Gilchrist has 28 tackles and two INTs. And he’s only played in 12 games. Not bad, kid. I’m guessing he’ll be assigned Burleson.
Quentin Jammer will get the marquis (or nightmare, depending upon your point of view) job of covering Calvin Johnson. Insert snotty remark of your choice addressing his chances.