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Chargers at Falcons: Week 7 Staff Predictions

The BFTB Staff gives its predictions for Sunday's game.

Atlanta Falcons v San Diego Chargers

Cody Young: Coming off a "mini-bye" and a big division win against the Denver Broncos, I really feel like picking the Chargers to win this game on the road. But I just can't bring myself to do it. The Broncos are a good team, but the Atlanta Falcons are a different machine. Even though Casey Hayward is playing at a pro bowl level, I don't think it's enough to take away Julio Jones. Even if the bolts can keep Jones in check, the Atlanta offense is loaded with talented players capable of winning matchups all over the field. With the shape the Chargers secondary is in right now, I just can't see them stopping the best offense in football. The Chargers offense should be able to put up some points of their own, but it will not be enough to keep up with Matt Ryan and the Falcons on their home turf. Chargers lose at Atlanta 23-30.

Jamie Hoyle: The Chargers are capable of beating the Falcons, I truly believe that. That said, I don't think this team is well coached/prepared enough to beat good teams on the road. The 2nd and 3rd levels of the Atlanta defense aren't good enough to contain Hunter and Tyrell, and I'm not sure their OT's are good enough to handle Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Chargers get off to a slow offensive start behind pre-snap penalties (that stadium will be loud), claw back into it, but aren't quite able to pull it out late. Falcons 31, Chargers 27.

Aaron Woolley: Chargers crash back down to earth in this one. I don't want to say the Bronco game was a fluke, but the Chargers didn't win that game... the Chargers just "ran out of time to lose." I think the Falcons are more well rounded and have a legitimate starting quarterback who currently leads the league in just about everything in Matt Ryan. The Chargers have a solid defense, I just don't think they can slow down all of the Falcons' weapons, nor can Philip Rivers keep up with the score with his mediocre receivers. Chargers lead by 6 at the half and blow it at the end of the game, scoring no points in the 2nd half, with the game ending 38-20, Falcons.

Nathan Graber-Lipperman: like most, I wanna say the Chargers could win this game. But I'll be realistic: on the road against the hottest team in football, who's strength is an unguardable receiver against our depleted secondary. I wouldn't be surprised if there Chargers surprise, but for now, I'll say 27-17, Falcons.

Ruben J. Gonzalez: So, I'm getting a little tired of hearing the Chargers don't have a chance against a team that is supposedly way more talented then they are. I think all this rhetoric is hogwash. The Chargers have proven that they can play with any team in the league this year as they have one of the best offenses in all of football. The Falcons, on the other hand, don't exactly have a staunch defense as they allow (27.7) 2 pts more than San Diego. The NFL even did the Chargers a favor with a 4 o'clock east coast start. C'mon yall, this is the type of game that can set the team back on track. A little bit positive vibes would help. Chargers win 31-24.

Louis Gorini: The Chargers have to travel to the east coast to play a team they have little history against. I know where this is heading. The Falcons match up real well against the Chargers. It's a shame Jason Verrett is out because he vs. Julio Jones would have been a fantastic matchup. This game will be won in the trenches. Atlanta has a talented offensive line for once and as a result, San Diego will have a difficult time applying pressure to Matt Ryan. Julio Jones will have a big game because there is no one in the Chargers secondary can guard him. And I know Atlanta's defense isn't that good but I feel like their speed can cause problems for San Diego's offense. Players like Henry and Williams will have a difficult time finding separation. The only way the Chargers can win is if they keep it on the ground and run efficiently with Melvin Gordon. Falcons 31 Chargers 21

Ryan Doyle: I think the Chargers offense is enough to stick with the Falcons. Melvin Gordon should get some more red zone carries and Hunter Henry should keep his hot streak going. But Julio Jones and the other receivers are just way too talented for the Bolts secondary to handle. Throw in the combo of Freeman and Coleman, Atlanta will put up some points. I think Philip Rivers can will the Chargers and get them within striking distance, but the Falcons are too much. 35 ATL, 27 SD

Richard Wade: The Chargers defense is much-improved thanks to rookie defensive end Joey Bosa, but injuries in the secondary will be too much to overcome against the Falcon’s high-powered offense. Nobody can match up with Julio Jones and if the Chargers commit additional resources to stopping him, Tevin Coleman and Devonta Freeman will run wild. Traveling cross country to face a difficult opponent in a dome is no small task. Philip Rivers and the offense should keep the Chargers in the game for three quarters before the Falcons pull away. Falcons 31 - 21 Chargers

Roger Hinojosa: Turnovers and matchups. I'm going against the grain and giving the Chargers a chance here. At first glance, the Falcons have more weapons than the Chargers do on offense (Jones, Coleman, Freeman, maybe Sanu). The Chargers can match up against this team's offense to a degree, but this is where matchups will be key. I like the way the rookies performed last week and I see them continuing this performance this week against the Falcons. Bosa, Brown, and the rest of the defensive front have to win the battle in the trenches to stuff the run, disrupt timing, and help out the coverage as much as possible. I see this game being Bosa's "breakout" game. The defense needs to create turnovers to give the Chargers a chance in the turnover battle. Rivers and the offense won't be stopped, slowed down maybe. While the Chargers face a solid run defense, the Falcons rank in the bottom 3rd against the pass. If the Chargers can create mismatches, like we saw against the Broncos, they'll have a better shot at stealing one on the road. I see Hunter Henry continuing his success against defenses, but with more eyes on Henry, I see Antonio Gates scoring a crucial touchdown in this game. The Chargers escape with a win on the road 30-28

Daniel Farias: this is a thought test for the Chargers one that I see shaping up the rest of the season. I just don't see the Chargers having enough on defense to stop Julio Jones and the high-flying Falcons offense. I expect Jones to have a huge day against a depleted Chargers secondary. The Chargers will score and keep it close but the Falcons control the game. 31-23 Falcons

Jeff Siniard: The Chargers (for whatever reason) have never beaten the Atlanta Falcons. In this game, they at least get the benefit of a late East Coast start. For me, this is the best test yet of the new front line of Bosa, Mebane, and Liuget - if they play well, the Chargers have more than a puncher's chance. The Chargers' offense also has a decided advantage against the Falcons defense. I think this is another winnable shootout, but McCoy (yet again) will settle for too many FGs when TDs are needed. Also, most shootouts are decided in the last 10 minutes, and we still (even after the win against DEN) have yet to see this team sustain their performance for 4 full quarters against anyone except the Jaguars. Falcons 34, Chargers 26.