Sunday features the latest installment in an AFC West rivalry featuring the Chargers and Broncos. The Broncos lead the all time series 66-51-1, and they stole the previous matchup this season in week 11 in LA.
The Chargers lost a hard fought 22-10 game against the Ravens last week. In week 14, they beat the Bengals 26-21, and in week 15 they beat the Chiefs 29-28.
The Broncos dropped their 3rd straight in a 27-14 loss to the Raiders on Monday. In week 14, they lost 20-14 to the 49ers and in week 15 they lost 17-16 to the Browns.
BetOnline has the Chargers as 6.5 point favourites with an O/U total of 41.5.
Los Angeles Chargers
(11-4 overall, 6-1 on the road)
The Chargers offense was stifled last week against a great Ravens defense, but has been formidable all season. Philip Rivers has thrown for 4132 yards, 31 TDs, and 10 INTs while completing 68.8% of his passes and averaging 8.5 YPA. Keenan Allen has been Rivers’ go-to guy, especially on 3rd down, catching 93 balls for 1132 yards and 6 TDs on the year. Melvin Gordon (47/466/4), Tyrell Williams (39/630/5) and Mike Williams (38/599/9) are heavily involved as well. Gordon is also the leading rusher with 843 yards and 10 TDs on 165 carries.
The Chargers scoring defense ranks top 10 allowing 21.3 PPG. Their passing defense ranks 7th, allowing 223.9 yards per game and 22 TDs through the air while their pass rush ranks below average with 37 sacks. The Chargers run defense ranks top 10, allowing 107.4 yards per game and 11 TDs on the ground. Their defense has forced 16 turnovers on the year, while their team owns a turnover differential of +1.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
CB Trevor Williams (knee) – out, OT Russell Okung (ankle) – questionable
(6-9 overall, 3-4 at home)
The Broncos offense has been very cold as of late, scoring 14, 16, and 14 in their last 3 games. On the year, Case Keenum has thrown for 3598 yards, 17 TDs and 14 INTs while completing 62.1% of his passes and averaging 6.7 YPA. Courtland Sutton is their most effective receiver with 41 catches for 679 yards and 4 TDs while Phillip Lindsay (35/241/1), DaeSean Hamilton (25/194/2) and Tim Patrick (19/267/1) get the majority of the remainder of the targets. On the ground, Lindsay has rushed for 1037 yards and 9 TDs on 192 carries while Royce Freeman has been heavily involved with 113 carries for 461 carries and 5 TDs.
The Broncos scoring defense ranks just outside the top 10 allowing 21.7 PPG. Their passing defense ranks below average, allowing 251.3 yards per game and 25 TDs through the air while their pass rush ranks top 10 with 43 sacks. Their run defense ranks below average allowing 119.8 yards per game and 10 TDs on the ground. Their defense has forced 24 turnovers, and as a team they own a turnover differential of +7.
Injuries and Inactive Watch
RB Phillip Lindsay (wrist) – out, CB Chris Harris Jr. (leg) – out, WR Andre Holmes (ankle) – doubtful
The Chargers offense is coming off a down performance against a great Ravens defense, and is potentially still playing for the #1 seed if the Chiefs were to collapse against Oakland. Without Chris Harris Jr. the Broncos don’t really have any playmakers in the back end, and their only real defensive threats are Bradley Chubb and Von Miller. The Chargers can attack defenses in a multitude of ways, and have been gashed huge in the run game occasionally this season.
The Broncos offense has struggled mightily the last 3 weeks, and faces another tough task against a solid Chargers defense. Their offensive line is not great and Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram could wreak havoc. With Phillip Lindsay out, the Broncos run game takes a huge hit. Their wide receivers also do not really threaten defenses outside of Courtland Sutton who is still developing. The Chargers should handle this one and carry their momentum into the postseason.
Final Pick: Chargers (-6.5)