By Rick Brown
This week 7 matchup against the Denver Broncos (3-2) and the Los Angeles Chargers (2-4) looks to be a difficult game to dissect. The Broncos started the season well at 3-0, but they’ve lost the last two out of three games and have not scored more than 16 points. Meanwhile, the Chargers started off losing the first four games of the season, but have won their last two matchups.
During the Chargers and Broncos’ last meeting in Denver, the Broncos narrowly escaped with a victory after controlling the game for three quarters. The Chargers came surging back in the forth quarter and all but won the game until Denver iced rookie kicker Younghoe Koo and then proceeded to block the field goal attempt and win the game (Koo has also since been cut by L.A.). The Chargers will be looking for revenge on Sunday in Los Angeles.
The Los Angeles Chargers (2-4)
The Chargers are looking to continue their win streak when the Broncos come to StubHub Center. First-year head coach Anthony Lynn has done a good job of winning close games against the Oakland Raiders (2-4) and the New York Giants (1-5). The Chargers have not been performing better, but the team has been able to close out the last two games with a victory. Previously, the Chargers had been 4-18 in games decided by one score or less since 2015. This is too talented a team with the likes of Philip Rivers, Melvin Gordon and Keenan Allen on offense to not finish close games.
Rivers is a superstar quarterback and continues to put up monster numbers. Through six games, Rivers has thrown for 1,633 yards and has 10 touchdowns. The team ranks 4th in the league in passing.
Allen has 33 catches for 446 yards and only one touchdown. Look for him to draw a lot of attention from the Broncos’ secondary. The Broncos’ rush defense did a good job of containing Gordon in the last meeting, holding him to 54 yards rushing. Los Angeles has a lot of work to do in the run game as the team ranks 31st in rushing yards.
The Chargers defense is full of talent up front. Former first-round pick Joey Bosa had 1.5 sacks against the Broncos in the last meeting. Ingram was able to attack the other side of the Broncos offensive line and had 1.5 sacks as well. This is a great matchup for the Chargers and could pose big problems for the Broncos.
To help stop the run, the Chargers have Corey Liuget, who can clog up the middle of the line pretty well. Teams that have been able to stop the Broncos rushing attack can usually earn a victory. Look for the Chargers to focus on stopping CJ Anderson and Jamal Charles, which may be hard to do as the worst ranked team in rushing defense. The Chargers secondary, led by Casey Haryward, is ranked 4th in passing defense.
Players To Watch
The Broncos did a good job of containing Gordon during the first meeting in Denver, but this game could be different. Against the Giants, the Broncos were exposed to a rushing game that had been nonexistent before Week 6. Lynn earned his chops by having the best rushing team in the league last year, and it would be hard to abandon the run with Gordon’s talent in the rushing game. Rivers is 11-14 against the Broncos, including the playoffs, so his play can be spotty at best. Lynn could take the pressure off of Rivers by establishing the run early in the game. Bosa and Ingram looked great against the Broncos’ offensive line and fans should expect more of the same.
The Broncos look off and did not perform well on the road against the Buffalo Bills (3-2). The team has not been the same since the loss and continues to perform badly on offense. Meanwhile the Chargers are starting to hit a stride and have some confidence, and should be able to continue the team’s win streak. Look for the Chargers to pull out a win against the Broncos, 27-20.