The second game of Monday Night Footballs double-header will feature the Los Angeles Chargers taking on the Denver Broncos. This AFC West rivalry game will take place at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colorado. The game will kick off at 10:20 PM. ET.
It’s a new year, in a new city for the Los Angeles Chargers, and the hope for fans is a fresh start. The Chargers inaugural season has extremely low expectations. Their last season in San Diego was abysmal, with the Chargers finishing last in the AFC West division. Despite the low expectations, the Chargers will come in under the radar in a loaded AFC West division with a chance to make some waves.
Last season, Los Angeles struggled to win close games. In 2016, the Chargers blew a number of fourth quarter leads. This inability to closeout games lead to their dismal 5-11 overall record for the 2016 campaign. The Chargers haven’t won the AFC West since the 2009 season. That year, they went 13-3 before losing to the Jets in the divisional round of the playoffs. Since then, the Chargers have fared no better than 9-7 and have made the playoffs just once in the last seven years.
After winning Super Bowl 50, the Denver Broncos were hit with a Super Bowl hangover that saw their win totals drop from 12-4 to 9-7. At the same time, the Broncos now have to deal with the rise of divisional opponents; the Kansas City Chiefs and Oakland Raiders. The AFC West is possibly the most stacked division in all of NFL. By the end of the season, at least two of the teams in the AFC West should make the playoffs (Oakland and Kansas City are the favorites). With so much talent in this division, it’s imperative for both teams to start off with a divisional win.
The good news for the Chargers is the play of Philip Rivers. Since Rivers took over as the full-time starter in 2006, he hasn’t missed a start in over a decade. Rivers is one of the best quarterbacks in the league in terms of yards per game. In 10 seasons as a starter, Rivers has thrown over four thousand yards in at least eight of those seasons.
The bad news for the Chargers is their turnover problem. If Philip Rivers has a weakness, it’s his turnover rate. Last season, River led the league in interceptions with a costly 21 on the season, three more than the next eligible player. Overall, the Chargers ranked 26th in 2016 with a -7 in terms of turnover rate, according to NFL Stats. If the Chargers are to improve upon their 5-11 record in 2016, the Chargers cannot afford to turn the ball over at such a frenetic pace.
The Good news for the Broncos is that their front seven remains mostly intact. Denver’s defense stymied their opponents leading the league in fewest yards per play. Denver allowed only 4.7 yards per play, according to NFL Stats. Denver’s secondary allowed only 185.8 yards per game the fewest yards per game in the league. This ferocious unit allowed only 13 passing touchdowns on the year, the fewest of any team.
The bad news for the Broncos: Quarterback Trevor Siemian. Since taking over Manning, Siemian is the definition of a “game manager” from inside the pocket. In 2016, Siemian completed less than 60 percent of his passes and struggled against superior opponents. If Siemian can make a year two jump and have a greater impact on the offense, then the Broncos will be a serious threat in the AFC.
Broncos Vs Chargers Betting Lines
This game comes down to the Chargers’ offense versus the Broncos defense. Over the years, Philip Rivers has struggled to produce points when facing the Broncos defense. The Chargers will need to rely on their ground attack to carry them to victory. Last season, the Broncos defensive weakness was their run defense. Expect the Chargers’ Melvin Gordon to receive the lions share of the carries in this game. If Gordon can get going early and find the end zone, then the Chargers have a real shot at the upset.
Play: Charger +3.5 @ BetOnline.ag