Monday Night Football Preview – Chargers and Broncos might wage a defensive battle
The Los Angeles Chargers and Denver Broncos have obviously both been considered contenders in the AFC West. But while the Chargers have done okay, navigating their way around injuries, the Broncos have been a source of puzzlement. This centers around the expectations concerning Russell Wilson, who was acquired in a blockbuster trade with Seattle, then was given a big contract extension.
Let’s face it – fans have had every right to expect great things from him and the Denver offense. But they have laid an egg, and that has been an understatement. This has been the worst team in the NFL regarding converting on its opportunities, and BetOnline patrons have already heard the whispers about first-year head coach Nathaniel Hackett’s job security.
Hackett has been talking about scaling down the playbook. Will that ultimately offer a solution? Or is this taking this team further away from their vision when they brought Wilson on board? These are questions that need to be answered.
If you recall the season opener, the Broncos had a lot of difficulty at the end when it came to managing the clock, and after that, he turned to a new assistant coach who would deal with that. Brandon Staley, the Chargers’ head coach, has had his own problems with clock management and play-calling, and that may have handicapped his team. However, in this particular circumstance, what he does with regard to his defensive scheme may have a positive effect in this matchup.
These teams will meet up at beautiful SoFi Stadium in Inglewood (outside LA) at 8:15 PM ET in the ESPN-televised Monday night game.
In the odds that have been posted on this contest by the folks at BetOnline, the Chargers are the home favorites:-
Los Angeles Chargers -4 (-108)
Denver Broncos +4 (-112)
Over 45.5 Points (-111)
Under 45.5 Points (-109)
The Chargers couldn’t possibly be expected to duplicate their efforts on the ground last week against the Browns, in which they rumbled for 213 rushing yards. Austin Ekeler led the charge (pardon the pun) with 173 yards, and he blasted through the soft Cleveland defense for 71 on a single play. Yes, when we say SOFT, we mean it; Cleveland allows more than five yards per rush.
You know, the Chargers are worse than that, giving up 5.8 per carry, and if Denver still had running back Javonte Williams healthy, that would be more of a concern. But they don’t because he is out for the year. So they will have to rely more on Melvin Gordon, who has some capability but has sub-par production (3.7 ypc) and is too unreliable when it comes to holding on to the football.
When the Broncos get close to the goal line, it seems they get an allergy. They have scored a touchdown on only 21.4% of their red zone trips, which is BY FAR the worst figure in the league. They do not do well on first down plays, gaining positive yardage only 63% of the time (very low), and that leaves them in a position where they might have to convert in third and long, which they have done only 9.8% (worst in the NFL). So that means they better do a lot of business on second down. This doesn’t leave much space for them.
Staley is a big proponent of playing with two deep safeties, which would customarily take away a lot of Wilson’s deep ball capability. And that has manifested itself in the past, as Wilson has completed only 55% in those three games, with no big explosions.
So if you want to lean toward anybody, the Chargers might be that team. But our preference here is to roll with the UNDER, as another slog involving the Broncos is altogether possible.
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