Denver Broncos (-3) at San Diego Chargers
I’m glad I’m not a degenerate gambler, because I would’ve lost a lot of money with my picks the past 2 weeks.
The Chargers, at 1-4, have a +10 point differential. By comparison, the Raiders, who are 4-1, have a +5 point differential. Think the Chargers have been unlucky this year? They have sustained numerous injuries, and have continuously beat themselves with mistakes late in games. Perhaps this is the week that changes, but they may not even be in a position to win late in the game. Philip Rivers is playing very well, but he has not faced a defense with such a strong pass rush or secondary yet. The Falcons showed the NFL that the Broncos aren’t very good at defending pass-catching running backs, but the Chargers don’t have a dependable pass-catcher out of the backfield with Danny Woodhead out for the year. Rivers may be able to use his tight ends to move down the field some, but he will have almost no time to throw. Even if he does, the Denver secondary will do a good job covering the San Diego receivers. Rivers will have trouble consistently maintaining drives.
After QB Paxton Lynch’s showing last week, the Broncos have to be happy to have their starter, Trevor Siemian, back in the lineup. The Chargers are missing two starting corners, Jason Verrett and Brandon Flowers, so I’ll bet the Broncos are planning to attack the Chargers through the air. Atlanta’s pass rush, mainly Vic Beasley, came to life last week, but Denver had a backup right tackle in the game. This week, the starting right tackle is back in the lineup, which obviously bodes well for Siemian. After a good start to the season, Broncos RB CJ Anderson has cooled off considerably, averaging only 2.88 yards per carry his past 3 games. The Chargers have a good run defense and shouldn’t have a problem containing Anderson.
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak will miss this game to recover from an illness (a “complex migraine”). The Broncos are dedicating this game in his name like he just died or something. Kubiak will be fine, and the Broncos should be able to win and cover. The Broncos allowed 23 points to the Falcons last week, their most all year. The Chargers won’t be able to get to 23.
Pick: Broncos 20 Chargers 16