Sunday, September 27, 2020, SoFi Stadium, Inglewood, California, 4:05 p.m. ET
Panthers at Chargers Betting Preview: Panthers (+6.5/+115), Chargers (-6.5/-105)
The Panthers are trying to avoid their first 0-3 start since 2010 (in John Fox’s final season as coach) while not having their best player.
Christian McCaffrey is arguably the NFL’s best running back and he is now on injured reserve after suffering a sprained ankle in last week’s loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Getting that initial win will be much harder without the all-purpose star on the field.
Journeyman Mike Davis will start against the Chargers and nobody is expecting a McCaffrey-like performance despite coach Matt Rhule putting on the brave face. “Mike is a good player and we know we can count on him,” Rhule said. “He was ready when his number was called (against the Buccaneers), and he’ll play well in Christian’s absence.” Quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who passed for a career-high 367 yards last week, might have to approach that figure again.
The Carolina defense has yet to record a sack while allowing an average of 32.5 points per game. Cornerback Donte Jackson recorded the unit’s lone interception.
Los Angeles Chargers
Rookie quarterback Justin Herbert will be starting his second straight game and this time he has a little bit more advance warning. Herbert learned Wednesday he would be the starter against Carolina but didn’t know he was starting last Sunday’s game against the Kansas City Chiefs until just prior to the coin toss.
Tyrod Taylor had to be scratched when a pain-injection for a rib injury went awry and it has seen been revealed his lung was punctured by the doctor giving him the shot.
Herbert was superb when having little notice he was playing and passed for 311 yards and accounted for two touchdowns (one passing, one rushing) while being intercepted once.
Now the Chargers (1-1) will have the opportunity to implement some plays that fit his skills into the playbook. Herbert certainly is well aware of Keenan Allen, who is seven receptions behind legendary Kellen Winslow (541 catches from 1979-87) for third place on the franchise’s all-time receptions list.
The Chargers may not fully respect Carolina’s running game with McCaffrey on the sidelines but a team allowing 123.5 yards on the ground can’t look past any back. Star defensive Joey Bosa has two sacks and continues to rank as a top-flight defender.
Panthers at Chargers Betting Pick for Week 3
Carolina is still trying to find its stride under first-year coach Rhule and now will be without its best player in McCaffrey for four to six weeks. That can’t be good for optimism on the sidelines should things start to go wrong. The Chargers are hoping Herbert will have a second dose of beginner’s luck and be able to steer the club to a victory this time.
Panthers at Chargers Betting Pick:
Chargers 30, Panthers 21
Panthers at Chargers Best Bet for Week 3
The Panthers are giving up lots of points and that trend should continue this week. Bridgewater threw the ball well last week and figures to have his moments.
The key player is Herbert. If he plays as well as he did last week, this contest easily goes over.
Panthers at Chargers Best Bet: OVER 43.5 total points (-105)