Los Angeles Chargers vs. Houston Texans Matchup Preview (12/26/21): Betting Odds, Depth Charts, Live Stream (Watch Online)

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Houston Texans Matchup Preview (12/26/21)

This Sunday, December 26th, at noon CST, the Los Angeles Chargers will kick off against the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium. The Chargers are coming off of a crucial 34-28 overtime loss to the Kansas City Chiefs while the Texans secured their third win against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 15. The Texans have been ruled out of the 2021 NFL postseason. The Chargers have a majority chance of making it to the playoffs with a 65% chance but need to secure clear wins to avoid being overshadowed by the Cincinnati Bengals. This matchup is a key aspect to the 8-6 Chargers playoff prospect, and they need to secure the win against the 3-11 Texans. The Chargers have had 4-2 success on the road, whereas the Texans have been 1-6 at home. Both teams are swarmed with COVID, with their best players on the reserve list, making this matchup one of many that will make for an unpredictable game.

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Houston Texans Betting Odds

The Los Angeles Chargers are a clear frontrunner for winning this matchup. The Chargers have been led to great success by their young quarterback, Justin Herbert, while the Texans have struggled immensely to find a standout quarterback bouncing between Davis Mills and Tyrod Taylor. ESPN’s matchup projector gives the Chargers a 79.7% chance of victory and feels very confident in the Chargers securing their ninth season win. 

DraftKings also feels very confident in a Chargers win. They placed the spread at -10 (110) for the Chargers and +10 (-110) for the Texans. The spread is very large for a game this late in the season, but it appears to be very possible. The moneyline was placed at -475 for the Chargers and +350 for the Texans. The Texans have only been able to pull off one unexpected upset this season with a 22-13 win against the Tennessee Titans. Since then, there has been nothing but disappointing losses for the Texans besides two wins against the 2-12 Jacksonville Jaguars. 

The Texans were doing surprisingly well against the spread at the beginning of the season, going 3-1 ATS at home. However, the second half of the season has been difficult. They have been outscored 85-27 in their last three home games and have not been able to cover the spread. The Chargers have been 7-7 against the spread this season and have disrupted the Vegas spread in the last five road games. They can be very unpredictable in the betting realm, but the heavy favor in this matchup might pay off easily.

My prediction: Chargers win 27-10

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TV Schedule

Date: 12/26/21
Time: 1:00 PM ET
Location: NRG Stadium – Houston, TX
TV Coverage: CBS

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Houston Texans Live Stream

Where can you watch Chargers vs. Texans online? You can stream this game, and many other NFL games live online with Hulu. Hulu has a 7 Day free trial and is cheaper than cable options at $5.99/month. Watch Chargers vs. Texans Free Online Now.

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Los Angeles Chargers Analysis

The Los Angeles Chargers have been successful this season, landing them in second place in the AFC West, trailing the Kansas City Chiefs by only two games. This week, this offense will be shaken by new COVID reserve additions, leaving the team to have to switch up their play calls which may shake their rhythm.

Thankfully, their starting quarterback, Justin Herbert, has avoided the COVID reserve list as of Thursday. Herbert has been the backbone of this team, with 4,058 passing yards landing him fourth in the league. He averages 289.9 yards, and 2.9 touchdown passes this season. He has a key eye that can secure airtight passes and has the ability to read a defense for crucial rushing yards. Herbert has trusted his arm to his top receiver, Keenan Allen, more than in the league. The two make up a top-five connection in the league, and they’ve collectively racked up impressive stats for the team.

Keenan Allen is in his eighth season in the NFL and is on track to have one of his most impressive seasons. He has collected 92 receptions for 1,007 receiving yards. He has completed five touchdown passes, racking up 30 points for the Chargers this season. Allen has been such a pivotal factor to this winning team, and the Chargers have a sigh of relief knowing he has not found himself on the COVID list yet.

Austin Ekeler is not as lucky. The team’s top receiver will not be present in the Texans matchup. Ekeler tested positive for COVID on Wednesday and does not appear to be eligible for Sunday’s game. On the season, Ekeler has 789 rushing yards with ten touchdowns. His absence will significantly impact the Chargers’ rush game and may affect the likelihood of a high-scoring game. In his place, we find Justin Jackson. Jackson is the second running back in rotation for the Los Angeles team and has collected 239 rushing yards on 42 attempts. Jackson’s no Ekeler, but he can substitute for solid yardage against a struggling Texans’ rush defense.

Los Angeles Chargers Depth Chart

QB: Justin Herbert
RB1: Austin Eckler
RB2: Justin Jackson
WR1: Keenan Allen
WR2: Jalen Guyton
WR3: Mike Williams
TE1: Jared Cook

Houston Texans Analysis

The Houston Texans have had a very difficult time establishing themselves as a threat in this 2021 season. They started their season with a 1-8 record and have struggled to recover ever since. Most of their losses have been decided by huge margins. Throughout the season, they’ve been outscored 356-177. The team has bounced back and forth between quarterbacks Davis Mills and Tyrod Taylor all season. Without an established quarterback, it’s challenging to find a rhythm to score consistent points.

Entering the last month of the season, the Texans named their starting quarterback to be officially Davis Mills. After their playoff prospects became officially nonexistent, the team turned towards a focus on player development and looking towards the future of the team. The rookie quarterback Mills has 1,946 passing yards this season with nine interceptions. He has approximately 1,000 more yards than the veteran Tyrod Taylor but has one less win under his belt. This may not be the best game for Mills to improve his stats since his top receivers are out for COVID and injuries.

Brandin Cooks leads the team in receiving yards with 945 yards on 80 receptions. He has been stellar in his past two games exceeding 100 yards each. Unfortunately, he was placed on the COVID reserve list on Wednesday. His absence will greatly hinder the Texans’ pass offense. The Texans’ other receiver, Chris Conley, is questionable going into this week with a knee injury. If both receivers remain unable to play this weekend, the passing game may become nonexistent for the Houston team.

The rushing ability isn’t looking bright either. The team’s top rusher, Davis Johnson, is also questionable with a quad injury. With the leading receiver and running back unlikely to play this weekend, the weight of the offense might be placed on Rex Burkhead’s shoulders. Burkhead has 207 rushing yards on the season, which is significantly low for most running backs in the league. The team doesn’t have many options, so Burkhead might need to step into his role as a leader to give the Texans a chance.

Houston Texans Depth Chart

QB: Davis Mills
RB1: David Johnson
RB2: Rex Burkhead
WR1: Nico Collins
WR2: Danny Amendola
WR3: Brandin Cooks
TE1: Jordan Akins

Los Angeles Chargers vs. Houston Texans Daily Fantasy Picks

Unfortunately for many fantasy owners, Austin Ekeler will be unable to return for this weekend’s matchup. Ekeler has been a huge point contributor for many players this season. There may be an opportunity for Justin Jackson to take over the rushing game for the Chargers. Although Jackson doesn’t have the same track record as Ekeler, he may be able to step into the footsteps of Ekeler to help his team. 

Keenan Allen is always a great starter for any fantasy lineup. Allen averages 17.3 fantasy points per game and has boomed more than he’s busted. This week, he is projected to receive 16.4 points, but with the lacking rush game of Ekeler, Allen may be looked to as a bigger target this weekend.

Maggie is a current political science major at the University of Oklahoma and wants to pursue a Masters Degree in Sports Management in her future. She has followed the NFL, MLB, and NCAA Men's Basketball all of her life. She's been very excited with NLCS appearances by the Dodgers, but is still patiently waiting and crossing her fingers for an AFC Championship from her Cleveland Browns. She even named her dogs "Dodger" and "Jackie" in support of her favorite MLB team and the legendary Jackie Robinson.

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