Carolina Panthers vs. Los Angeles Chargers Pick & Prediction SEP 27TH 2020

Stadium: SoFi Stadium Inglewood
Logo Carolina Panthers
Logo Los Angeles Chargers

44.5o -105
-6 -104



The Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Chargers rarely play each other but are joined by some commonalities going into Sunday's game at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.


The Chargers (1-1) face more certainty at quarterback with Tyrod Taylor, who didn't play last weekend because of a rib injury that was compounded by a punctured lung during medical procedures. Rookie Justin Herbert nearly orchestrated an upset of the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, who prevailed in overtime.


Herbert's role is now clear while Taylor is out.


"I look forward to seeing him play with a week of preparation knowing he's going to be the starter," Chargers coach Anthony Lynn said of Herbert. "We have to tailor things to his skill set."


The Panthers (0-2) are fully aware of much of the Chargers' predicament.


They'll be without All-Pro running back Christian McCaffrey, who exited after scoring his second touchdown of the game with a fourth-quarter run last weekend in a loss at Tampa Bay. His four rushing touchdowns give him a share of the NFL lead.


McCaffrey's high ankle sprain is expected to keep him sidelined for a month and up to six weeks. Carolina placed him on injured reserve Wednesday.


Herbert, a four-year star at Oregon, became the third player in NFL history with at least 300 passing yards and a rushing touchdown in his debut.


There were positives from Herbert, the sixth overall pick in the 2020 draft.


"His poise, he didn't panic," Lynn said.


Yet as much as Herbert's outing was encouraging, there was another element.


"There's a lot we didn't get done with Justin on the field," Lynn said. "He's a backup for a reason."


Without McCaffrey, the Panthers will turn to Mike Davis as the primary running back.


"He will play well in Christian's absence," Carolina coach Matt Rhule said of Davis.


Davis has made multiple stops in the NFL, but the 27-year-old failed to emerge as a featured back. Rhule said there is no doubt in the Panthers' minds that Davis is a starting-caliber back in the NFL.


"He's going to be a challenge, so we have to bring our 'A' game and stop the run," Chargers defensive tackle Linval Joseph said of Davis.


Davis is a sixth-year NFL veteran in his second season with the Panthers, joining the team last November.


"Just be me, don't try to be someone else," Davis said. "Play how I've been playing. Prepare how I've been preparing. Just play angry."


Lynn played in the NFL with Ed McCaffrey, the running back's father.


"Some good genes there," Lynn said. "To say I'm going to miss him playing on Sunday, no I won't miss him."


Carolina also will be counting on better ball security from quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, who accounted for three turnovers in the Tampa Bay game. He has seemed to find a groove with receiver Robby Anderson, who has compiled more than 100 receiving yards in both games this season.


If the Chargers sense inexperience on offense, it might be a good matchup with the Panthers. They've started three rookies on defense.


It's unclear if the Panthers will have defensive lineman Kawann Short, who missed Wednesday's practice, back after he sat out last week's game with a foot injury.


Both teams have been in a pair of tight games, with Carolina within seven points of the Buccaneers with less than two minutes remaining. The Chargers rallied to defeat the Cincinnati Bengals before seeing a fourth-quarter lead disappear in the setback to the Chiefs.


The Panthers are trying to avoid their first 0-3 start since 2010, when they lost their first five games en route to a two-win season.


The Chargers and Panthers have met just six times, with Carolina holding a 5-1 record (including victories in the last three matchups). The last meeting came in 2016.


--Field Level Media


Carolina Panthers
Los Angeles Chargers

Carolina Panthers vs. Los Angeles Chargers

Joey Slye kicked five field goals, helping first-year Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule to his first NFL victory in a 21-16 outcome against the host Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, Calif.

The result snapped the Panthers' 10-game losing streak that extended to last season. It also allowed Carolina (1-2) to avoid what would have been the fifth 0-3 start in franchise history.

Panthers quarterback Teddy Bridgewater was 22-for-28 for 235 yards and a touchdown.

Chargers rookie quarterback Justin Herbert, in his second start in place of an injured Tyrod Taylor, went 35-for-49 for 330 yards with a touchdown and an interception.

Herbert threw a 14-yard third-down touchdown pass to Keenan Allen with 4:33 remaining. A two-point conversion pass was dropped by Allen, leaving the score 21-16.

The Chargers regained possession with 1:46 left, needing to cover 99 yards for a go-ahead score without a timeout. They reached the Carolina 23 before a penalty, an incompletion and a botched lateral on a trick play ended the game.

Allen had 13 catches for 136 yards.

Los Angeles (1-2) took the reigning Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs to overtime a week earlier before falling.

Slye was 5-for-5 on field goals, hitting from 29, 24, 30, 22 and 31 yards. He connected on another one, but that was taken off the board late in the second quarter because the Chargers were flagged for an illegal defensive alignment penalty.

On the next play, Bridgewater's screen pass to Mike Davis turned into a 13-yard touchdown. That extended Carolina's lead to 15-7, with the extra-point kick blocked.

The Panthers added a Slye field goal on the last play of the first half. That was set up when Donte Jackson intercepted Herbert and made a 66-yard return to the Los Angeles 8 with eight seconds left.

The Chargers, who committed three first-half turnovers, scored their first touchdown on a 12-yard run from Austin Ekeler on the second play of the second quarter, completing a 10-play, 75-yard drive. Los Angeles scored the only points in the third quarter on Michael Badgley's 41-yard field goal.

--Field Level Media