NFL Week 9 Upset Alert: The Atlanta Falcons Can Hold Ground in NFC South

The Atlanta Falcons are shockingly in first place through the first half of the season in the NFC South. Can the Falcons earn another win and stay at the top of the division with a home game against the Los Angeles Chargers?

Let’s see what the NFL odds tell us at the best sportsbooks!

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Atlanta Falcons

Sunday, November 6, 2022 – 01:00 PM EDT at Mercedes-Benz Stadium

The Atlanta Falcons might be 4-4 on the season. But they’re still leading the NFC South and in first place. Now they’ll take on a Los Angeles Chargers team that is dealing with multiple injuries heading into Sunday.

The Falcons escaped Carolina last week. With a home game on Sunday, can they escape the 4-3 Los Angeles Chargers? I’m sure you already know where I’m going with this.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers Aren’t Healthy

The Los Angeles Chargers aren’t healthy right now. Yet, they’re still 4-3, which is pretty incredible if you think about it.

The Chargers won’t have Mike Williams or Keenan Allen at receiver. On Thursday, Austin Ekeler landed on the injury report and it’s also questionable if we’ll see Donald Parham Jr. take a snap at tight end.

The offense has scored 23.4 points per game with 375.9 yards of offense per game. But they’re earning just 88.9 yards on the ground. They’ve relied on their passing game, but their best receiver will be Joshua Palmer, who is also coming off an injury.

That Defense

The Chargers have been dreadful rushing the football because of the run block. Still, the offense has done enough to win games. It’s the defense that has let them down the most.

Los Angeles’s defense has allowed 27 points per game along with 375.6 yards per game. They’ve missed countless tackles and have been dreadful against the run, allowing 137.6 yards per game.

In coverage, the Chargers have allowed 238 yards but that’s mainly due to the pass rush. The pass rush is the only thing the Chargers have done well with on the defensive end.

Atlanta Falcons

Atlanta’s Run Game Should Excel

The Falcons have rushed for 158.1 yards per game on the ground this season. The Chargers have, again, allowed 137.6 yards per game on the ground this season.

The Falcons can absolutely exploit the run. Cordarrelle Patterson could have a role in this game, coming off the IR due to a knee injury. His production would be extremely good along with Tyler Allgeier and Caleb Huntley.

Meanwhile, once the run game gets going, the Falcons can use their top two weapons in Drake London and Kyle Pitts. Pitts is starting to see more targets and whenever London’s name is called, he’s produced this season.

The Better Defense

The Falcons have only averaged 337.1 yards per game but are still scoring 26 points per game. The offense is pretty efficient. Like the Chargers, the defense has let them down a little bit.

Still, the Falcons have held teams to 108.9 yards on the ground but can’t stop anyone in the passing game. Luckily for the Falcons, the Chargers will be without their two best receivers for this game.

What’s even odder is that the Chargers’ best playmaking is coming from the run game, but because the offensive line has played so poorly, it’s gone unnoticed by the Chargers’ staff.

Prediction and Pick

The Falcons have been the overall better team this year. The Falcons don’t use their weapons as they should, but they’ve got all the weapons that they need to be successful.

If utilized correctly, having Marcus Mariota at quarterback, a three-faced running game between Patterson, Allgeier, and Huntley, and multiple talented receivers like London and Pitts, should win you a lot of games.

The run block for the Falcons has been tremendous and even if the pass protection hasn’t been as good, Mariota is clearly capable of escaping the pocket to create plays down the field.

On the other hand, the Chargers have been awful in the run game. That could force the Chargers to third and longs all game. The Falcons won’t get every stop but if they can get a couple stops and stay consistent offensively, Atlanta could get over .500 and keep their lead at the top of the NFC South.

NFL Pick: Falcons ML (+135) at Caesars Sportsbook