Breakdown of how the Chargers (1-2) and Houston Texans (0-2-1) get into their game Sunday at 10 a.m. PDT at Houston’s NRG Stadium. The game will be shown on CBS and streamed on Paramount+ and NFL+.
When Chargers have the ball: For an offense packed with Pro Bowl players and fantasy favorites, a sixth-round rookie draft pick will be one of Sunday’s main focuses. Jamaree Salyer will make his first NFL start in a left tackle in place of the injured Rashawn Slater. Salyer will be responsible for protecting Justin Herbert and his ruptured rib cartilage and providing much-needed space for the running backs. The Chargers have the worst rushing offense in the league, averaging 59 yards per game and 2.6 yards per carry. During three weeks they have zero touchdowns on the floor. The encouraging news is that Houston is the NFL’s worst team at stopping the run and giving up an average of 202 yards. Last week, the Texans gave up 157 to a Chicago Bears running back named Khalil Herbert, which must be kind of good karma for a Chargers team that includes Khalil Mack and Justin Herbert, right? Coach Brandon Staley cited the need for “more physicality” and “rhythm” when discussing improvements down the offensive line. “I feel like we haven’t established that chemistry beforehand,” he said. “That’s a big part of what keeps us from being as good as we can be.”
When Texans have the ball: As hard as the offense struggled to get just one touchdown against Jacksonville last week, the Chargers’ defense withered in the second half as the Jaguars pulled away to a 38-10 win. That performance had little to do with Herbert’s sore ribs, aside from the fact that the defense had to play more snaps as the offense couldn’t sustain enough drives. “There were a lot of quick turnarounds out there,” said defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill. “As we got into the second half, the touchdowns came, and I think that was probably the accumulation of reps that we had in the first half.” The Chargers saw against NFL No. 1 Trevor Lawrence in 2021, at times overwhelmed. On Sunday at Davis Mills they face a quarterback who hit 66 picks after Lawrence. In 16 games, Mills has just two wins, but one of those came against the Chargers last season. Mills finished 21 of 27 for 254 yards and two touchdowns, his 130.6 rating is still the second best of his career. “He’s a good player,” Staley said. “I felt that way last year. He played very well against us…you can see he gives them a chance every Sunday.”
When they kick: The Chargers’ Dustin Hopkins had a relatively routine, quiet start to the season, hitting three of four field goal attempts and all seven extra points. Former UCLA bruin Ka’imi Fairbairn is in his seventh season with Houston. He’s perfect to open the year: seven out of seven on field goals and four out of four on extra points.
Jeff Miller’s prediction: After the Chargers lost by four touchdowns at home to Jacksonville, the idea that they would be favorites away against any NFL team seemed a bit strange. Honestly, it still does. There’s no doubt which of these teams is more talented, but can the Chargers avoid playing down to the level of their opponents? Spring …
TEXANS 23, CHARGERS 17
https://www.latimes.com/sports/chargers/story/2022-09-30/chargers-houston-texans-matchups-start-time-how-to-watch Chargers vs. Houston Texans matchups, start time, how to watch