LA Chargers: Week 3 staff predictions vs. Carolina Panthers

(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

The 1-1 LA Chargers take on the 0-2 Carolina Panthers in Week 3 of the NFL season.

The LA Chargers are home for the second week in a row and are looking to secure the team’s first win at SoFi Stadium against the Carolina Panthers.

The Panthers are missing Christian McCaffrey, and while Teddy Bridgewater is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the league, the Panthers are already one of the worst teams in the NFL.

On paper, this is a fantastic matchup for the Chargers and one that most fans are probably comfortable with. As we do with every week, the Bolt Beat staff has given their predictions as well. One point is awarded for guessing the correct winner, another point is awarded if the score prediction hits the right side of the over/under.

The total for this game, via The Action Network, is 43.5.

Bolt Beat’s LA Chargers vs. Carolina Panthers predictions:

Alexander Insdorf (2-2-0): LA Chargers 30, Carolina Panthers 20

Is there upset potential? I suppose. There are just too many rough matchups in this one for me to consider picking the panthers. The loss of Christian McCaffrey is devastating to the offense.

The offensive line is in full rebuild mode for the Panthers and they have injuries on top of it. That doesn’t bode well considering how dominant the D line has looked in the first two games for the Chargers. The Panthers just have too many holes on the roster on the offensive line, secondary, and defensive line to remain competitive with the Chargers for a full 60.

Brandon Viera (3-1-0): LA Chargers 31, Carolina Panthers 14

The Chargers are going into this game with the defense playing lights out, and the Panthers come in down their only elite offensive weapon. Joey Bosa can continue his DPOY campaign to open the season, and the playbook can open up for Justin Herbert after a full week of practicing with the starters. This Sunday, the Chargers will do what they should’ve done in Cincinnati.

Devon Auriemma (3-1-0): LA Chargers 27, Carolina Panthers 14

Even though he was thrown into the starting offense at the last possible second, Justin Herbert exceeded all expectations in his debut. After getting starting reps in practice and hopefully fixing some mistakes from last week, I expect Herbert to have another solid outing.

The Panthers are also going to be missing Christian McCaffrey. With how great the Chargers defense has been playing to start the year, this will be tough for Carolina’s offense to get anything going. While they do have other playmakers like Robby Anderson, D.J. Moore and Curtis Samuel, they will greatly miss McCaffrey. The Chargers get their second win of the year against the Panthers.

Ryan Daley (0-0-0): LA Chargers 27, Carolina Panthers 14

The game against the Carolina Panthers will essentially come down to the Chargers’ defensive depth. While the Chargers’ defense has been solid so far, the group will be without Justin Jones and Asmar Bilal. The Chargers also may not see Melvin Ingram, Rayshawn Jenkins, or Nick Vigil suit up for Sunday’s game.

Herbert, with a game of experience and a week of practice, will look to improve and have an even better start in his appearance. If those filling in on the defense can step up and stop a very underrated Carolina receiving core with Christian McCaffrey out, the Chargers should have no reason not to win this game.

Steven Haglund (3-1-0): LA Chargers 24, Carolina Panthers 17

The loss of Christian McCaffrey should be too much to overcome for the Panthers this week. Add in the uncertainty surrounding Russell Okung’s health, I’ll take the Chargers in this one.

If Michael Davis can limit the explosive plays from Robby Anderson the Chargers defense should be in good shape.

On offense, the Chargers weapons should feast this week. The Panthers’ defense has been awful in both of their games this year and the Chargers offense led by Justin Herbert should be able to capitalize.

Tyler Gallagher (4-0-0): LA Chargers 28, Carolina Panthers 17

The LA Chargers clearly have a better team than the Carolina Panthers, and it helps that their weaker unit with its rookie quarterback will be going facing one of the worst defensive units in the league. The Panthers offense is capable of big plays, but the Chargers’ potent pass rush is far too powerful for their offense to keep this game close.

Jason Reed (4-0-0): LA Chargers 24, Carolina Panthers 21

I barely have the over hitting in this game and I do wholeheartedly think the Chargers will win this game, but I think it will be closer than we all think. I did write about the potential of this being the highest-scoring game of the season for the Chargers, but I also would not be shocked if the team is more conservative with Justin Herbert after a week to prepare.

Next. Complete roster comparison vs. the Panthers

I just cannot trust the Chargers to not play a close game. So whether it be a slow start that they overcome or a two-possession lead that they make close, I do think the Panthers come within three of the Bolts.