The Denver Broncos try and keep pace with the New England Patriots in the AFC, as they welcome the San Diego Chargers to Mile High. Denver is 5-2 but there is the impression that the Broncos are not the same team from a year ago. That was a scary team to go up against, notably their defense. For everything said about Peyton Manning last season, he was not efficient in the field. In fact, Brandon Weeden finished with a higher quarterback rating. However, he did bring moxy and leadership to the locker room, which doesn’t show on the stat sheet but is monumental to a team. No offence to Trevor Siemian, but guys in the locker room are not going to listen to him. He’s been serviceable in his first season as a starter in the NFL after being a third-stringer for the Broncos last season behind Manning and Osweiler.
This will be the second meeting of the year between the Chargers and Broncos. It’s a quick turnaround, as this will be the second time they play in three weeks. The Chargers were able to upset the Broncos in San Diego, a 21-13 win in Denver. The Chargers needed the win in more ways than one. It gave the team a marquee win they have been searching for over the Broncos, the first time they beat them since December of 2013. The win snapped a five-game win streak for the Broncos over the Chargers. San Diego took that momentum with them to Atlanta and beat a good Falcons team, 33-30 in overtime.
The Chargers have to keep it going, because they got out to an ugly start this season. They were 1-4 before winning a couple over solid competition to bring them to 3-4. That’s what they needed and they got it, but they have no time to sit back and relax. They will need a similar performance against the Broncos once again, this time on the road in Denver. The Chargers’ defense made life difficult on Trevor Siemian three weeks ago, a similar performance is in order. Siemian passed for 230 yards on 30/50 passing. 50 attempts looks like a college game, but San Diego were able to shut the running lanes down as well, rushing for just 83 yards. The running game will have to help Siemian out this week. It should be a good one at Mile High Stadium in Denver.
San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos NFL Betting Odds:
vs. Broncos -4.5(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Chargers vs. Broncos Pick:
The Broncos are 28th in the NFL with just 215 passing yards per game. If this was a team with no defense, there would be a lot of blame going around on this offense. Siemian’s inefficiencies would be magnified more so. I think Siemian is going to continue to play the game manager role well in Denver, but if the time comes they have to play the Patriots in Foxboro in the playoffs, he will have to find it in himself to play a much bigger role. The road to defending their Super Bowl may very well go through New England, a team with revenge on their minds. Siemian has passed for 8 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, so he’s been doing a fine job doing what Denver is asking of him.
The Chargers have improved immensely against the pass over the last few years. They are 9th in the NFL with 276.3 passing yards allowed per game. The Chargers already have a quality performance against Siemian on their resume. The Denver offense is extremely predictable in this sense. As such, they haven’t been able to blow out teams like they did when Manning was lighting the scoreboard up. The subtraction of running back CJ Anderson, due to a season ending knee injury, is not going to help the Bronco offense any.
The Chargers could easily have a record above .500 at this point. They have been in some incredibly tight games. The Chiefs beat them in overtime to start the season at Arrowhead, and in every ensuing game they have a loss differential of just 2.6 points. Philip Rivers is having another good season. He has had to play with some terrible offensive lines over the years and not too many weapons, yet he still produces at a high level. Rivers has thrown for 13 touchdowns with 4 interceptions. He played a nice game against the Broncos in their last meeting, with 187 yards passing with a touchdown and no interceptions. It should be another close game for the Chargers who should be able to keep it within four points this afternoon to cover.
PICK: CHARGERS +4.5 (-110)