Chargers vs. Lions matchups: How to watch, start time and prediction

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) runs onto the field before a home game against the Bears.
Justin Herbert (10) will lead the Chargers onto the SoFi Stadium field Sunday to face the visiting Detroit Lions. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

Breaking down how the Chargers (4-4) and the Detroit Lions (6-2) match up heading into their 1:05 p.m. game Sunday at SoFi Stadium. Jeff Miller makes a prediction. The game will be shown on Fox.

When Chargers have the ball

Chargers quarterback Justin Herbert (10) scrambles away from Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (95) .
Quarterback Justin Herbert (10) scrambles away from New York Jets defensive tackle Quinnen Williams (95) on his way to leading the Chargers to a consecutive victory for the second time this season. (Seth Wenig / Associated Press)

The difficulty the Chargers have experienced in trying to sustain a ground attack is unlikely to be solved against Detroit, which features the NFL’s second-stingiest run defense. The Lions have yet to see any opposing back rush for more than 64 yards in a game. So, once again, matters figure to come down to Justin Herbert and a group of targets that’s missing injured wide receivers Mike Williams (knee, out for the season) and Joshua Palmer (knee, on the injured reserve list). Herbert had the fewest passing yards (136) of any game in his career and was sacked five times Monday against the New York Jets. The Lions have given up fewer total yards than the Jets and are second only to New York in the percentage of time they force opposing quarterbacks to hurry throws. “Games like that can be frustrating,” Herbert said of the defensive struggle against the Jets, who gave up only one touchdown “drive” to the Chargers, and that possession covered just 50 yards. This game could unfold in a similar manner, putting an emphasis on patience, quicker passes and not turning over the football. This could be a good week for a defensive touchdown, something the Chargers haven’t yet produced.

When Lions have the ball

Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown (14) runs after a catch.
The big-play ability of Detroit Lions wide receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown is a concern to the Chargers' secondary. (Rick Osentoski / Associated Press)

Detroit is the definition of balanced, ranking sixth in the NFL in passing and rushing. The only other team among the top six in both categories is Miami, the Dolphins possessing an offense that is like a track meet crossed with a circus. “The last two weeks we had a couple good wins,” Chargers edge rusher Joey Bosa said. “But ... we’ll have a true understanding where we sit after this game.” The Chargers are coming off consecutive victories during which they limited the opposition to 17 first downs and fewer than 225 net yards passing. But those came against Chicago’s Tyson Bagent and New York’s Zach Wilson. Detroit’s Jared Goff is a step up in pretty much every regard. The former Ram is in the top 10 in completion percentage, yards per game and yards per attempt. The Chargers have struggled against top wide receivers, and the Lions’ Amon-Ra St. Brown is fifth in the league in yards per game. Another issue for the Chargers has been explosive plays, and only six receivers have more 20-plus-yard catches than Detroit’s Josh Reynolds, another former Ram.

Read more: Jared Goff got closure from Sean McVay, and it helped make him a Detroit Lions hero

When they kick

Since joining the Chargers a year ago, Cameron Dicker is 44 for 44 on extra points, though his final one Monday banked through off the left upright. He’s 34 for 36 on field goals and has made a pair of 55-yarders this season. Detroit’s Riley Patterson kicked a 36-yarder on the final play in January that lifted Jacksonville to a 31-30 AFC wild-card playoff victory over the Chargers. He was traded to the Lions in May.

By the numbers

Jeff Miller's prediction

Over the last two weeks, I picked the Chargers to lose by two points and one point in games they won by 17 points and 21 points. So, to summarize, I was 0-2 and missed by a combined 41 points. I was thinking of having my cat pick this week’s game, but she’s more of a basketball fan. Anyway, for the season, I’m 4-4 straight up and 3-5 against the spread and trending, obviously, in the wrong direction. LIONS 24, CHARGERS 23

Read more: NFL Week 10 picks: Can Chargers keep up with Lions' offense? Jaguars a test for 49ers

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This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.