The Atlanta Falcons (4-2) take on the San Diego Chargers (2-4) on Sunday in what is shaping up to be a battle between two explosive offenses. Atlanta is coming off a tough, last-second loss in Seattle, while the Chargers are riding high after defeating the Broncos.
Atlanta is the clear favorite in the game, but the Chargers shouldn’t be discounted. If not for several blown leads and unlucky finishes, San Diego might be 3-3 or 4-2. Let’s find out what the numbers tell us about this week’s game.
Points/game: Atlanta Falcons 33.2 (1st), San Diego Chargers 28.8 (3rd)
Total Yards/game: Atlanta Falcons 441.5 (1st), San Diego Chargers 355.2 (14th)
Passing Yards/game: Atlanta Falcons 329.5 (2nd), San Diego Chargers 263.3 (11th)
Passing TDs: Atlanta Falcons 15 (2nd), San Diego Chargers 12 (T-6th)
Rushing Yards/game: Atlanta Falcons 112.0 (9th), San Diego Chargers 91.8 (22nd)
Rushing TDs: Atlanta Falcons 6 (T-8th), San Diego Chargers 6 (T-8th)
Third Down Efficiency: Atlanta Falcons 37% (23rd), San Diego Chargers 40% (14th)
Turnover Margin: Atlanta Falcons +1 (T-13th), San Diego Chargers -2 (T-21st)
Points/game: Atlanta Falcons 27.7 (26th), San Diego Chargers 25.8 (23rd)
Total Yards/game: Atlanta Falcons 379.5 (24th), San Diego Chargers 363.2 (18th)
Passing Yards/game: Atlanta Falcons 285.3 (26th), San Diego Chargers 279.7 (24th)
Passing TDs: Atlanta Falcons 14 (T-29th), San Diego Chargers 10 (T-19th)
Rushing Yards/game: Atlanta Falcons 94.2 (11th), San Diego Chargers 83.5 (5th)
Rushing TDs: Atlanta Falcons 5 (T-14th), San Diego Chargers 8 (28th)
Third Down Efficiency: Atlanta Falcons 39% (18th), San Diego Chargers 38% (15th)
Sacks: Atlanta Falcons 11 (T-19th), San Diego Chargers 14 (T-11th)
Atlanta, as usual, dominates the offensive statistics. The Falcons remain first in points and total yards, and are second in passing yards and passing TDs. San Diego is great at scoring points (3rd), but statistically their offense is closer to above average. They’re 14th in total yards, 11th in passing yards, and 22nd in rushing yards.
On defense, neither unit is particularly good, but San Diego has the advantage in almost every statistic. The Chargers are 23rd in points allowed and 18th in total yards allowed. Their rushing defense is somewhat of a mixed bag, allowing only 83.5 yards/game (5th) but giving up 8 rushing TDs thus far (28th). The teams are virtually identical in third down efficiency and passing yards/game.
With both defenses in the bottom tier of the NFL statistically, this game appears to be a shootout on paper. In that case, Atlanta has the advantage of a better, more balanced offense. Atlanta’s defense has also been improving over the last three games. Meanwhile, the Chargers have received a boost on defense from first round pick Joey Bosa, who has been effective at getting pressure on the QB.
This game should be a entertaining match-up between two good NFL offenses. Particularly at home, the Falcons have the advantage. It remains to be seen if the Falcons’ defense will continue their improvement, but Phillip Rivers and company should be an excellent test.