FBG says: Good matchup. Philip Rivers was mediocre in last week's loss to the Lions as he failed to find the end zone and ended with 291 passing yards. His offensive line couldn't handle the pressure from the Lions, which led to Rivers being consistently hurried and forced into making some questionable throws. Rivers was missing a key safety blanket in Hunter Henry, who is done for most of the year with a knee injury. Mike Williams was also limited last week as he deals with a knee injury. These limitations for Rivers basically caused him to force-feed Keenan Allen targets last week. Allen has 42 percent of the team's targets through the first two weeks and has finished with 123 and 98 receiving yards in each game. Austin Ekeler is also seeing a high volume of targets, and he has hauled in all but one of them for a total of 163 receiving yards and two touchdowns to start the season. Both Allen and Ekeler will remain high ceiling assets in this passing offense.
The Texans played decent defense last week as they displayed improvements on the defensive line and secondary. J.J. Watt got back on track while Whitney Mercilus continued his spectacular start to the season as the primary replacement to Jadeveon Clowney. The pair of edge rushers accounted for four hits on Gardner Minshew while Mercilus notched two sacks and Watt recovered a fumble. The Chargers offensive line received a mediocre C+ grade in pass protection by Footballguys offensive line guru Matt Bitonti, so they will be expected to struggle against the talented Texans defensive line. The secondary continues to adjust after cutting cornerback Aaron Colvin. Rookie Lonnie Johnson Jr. started and struggled last week while Bradley Roby moved to the slot and held Dede Westbrook to just one reception for three yards. Johnson Jr. will be a liability due to his lack of experience, which should pose an opportunity for Mike Williams and Travis Benjamin from the edges. Bradley Roby may have had a nice game against the Jaguars, but he is not an extremely talented cornerback and will afford Keenan Allen a clear advantage in the slot. The Texans have also given up decent production to running backs to start the season, allowing 4-40 to Leonard Fournette and 7-72 to Alvin Kamara. Austin Ekeler will have a good chance at meeting or exceeding that level of production from the backfield.