DENVER (CBS4) — The Denver Broncos return to Empower Field at Mile High, looking to get back to their winning ways against division rival Los Angeles Chargers. The Broncos have won all three games against teams from the AFC. Here are the four top matchups to watch in Sunday’s game.
Chris Harris Jr. vs Keenan Allen
The headline matchup will be between these two Pro Bowlers. In the first game, Chargers wide receiver Keenen Allen was held to four catches and a season-low 18 receiving yards. Afterwards Allen voiced his displeasure over social media on how Chris Harris needed help guarding him.
Harris responded by saying, “I’ve locked him up numerous times. I don’t even know how many times I’ve shut him down,” he said in October.
Allen leads the Chargers with 70 receptions for 796 yards. He’s second on the team with four touchdowns.
Drew Lock vs Gus Bradley
If the Broncos start Drew Lock, then the rookie quarterback will face a tough Chargers secondary led by defensive coordinator Gus Bradley. Bradley employs a 4-3 defense that features zone concepts. This allows pass rushers Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III to get after the quarterback.
For Lock and the Broncos to succeed, expect Denver to use play action passes and bootlegs to use Lock’s athleticism to help keep him out of long passing situations.
Todd Davis vs Austin Ekeler
Chargers running back Austin Ekeler has become a reliable passing target. He’s second on the team with 65 receptions for 667 yards and he leads the team with six touchdown catches. In the first game against the Broncos, he had a career-high 15 catches for 86 yards.
With Broncos linebacker Alexander Johnson possibly out with a knee injury, Todd Davis will have to make sure Ekeler doesn’t hurt the Broncos with short passing plays in the flat or screen plays.
Phillip Lindsay vs Todd Davis Sr.
The Chargers have the fourth-best passing defense in the league. With the Broncos possibly playing Drew Lock, the best way to keep pressure off his shoulders would be to run the football.
Phillip Lindsay’s only 100-yard rushing game this season came against the Chargers. He’ll be matched up against Chargers linebacker Todd Davis Sr. who leads Los Angeles with 90 tackles.