By Joe Messineo
By Joe Messineo
Coming off an exciting overtime win against the Atlanta Falcons, the San Diego Chargers (3-4) will next take on the division rival Denver Broncos (5-2) to try and save a season full of missed opportunities. The Broncos are currently tied with the Oakland Raiders atop the AFC West, with San Diego 2 games behind.
The defending Super Bowl champion Broncos will play host to the Chargers after San Diego won their previous meeting 21-13 on October 13. San Diego’s offense has scored 30 or more points 4 times this season, while Denver’s stingy defense has not allowed more than 23 points in a game this season. In fact, the Broncos have held their opponents to 20 points or less in every game except a 23-16 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.
The Chargers defense has been less than stellar, but they did hold Denver to just 13 points in their last meeting, despite allowing 30 points or more to opponents 5 times this season. This may be the case again with rookie quarterback Trevor Siemian under center for the Broncos. He has played pretty well for Denver, but a lack of a solid running game has forced Siemian to throw way too many passes. This has led to quite a few mistakes by the 7th round pick.
In week 6, the Chargers were able to hold Siemian to 230 yards and a touchdown on a whopping 50 pass attempts, good for just 4.4 yards per pass. San Diego didn’t allow any other Denver player to eclipse the 50-yard mark. The Broncos defense played just as well, holding the Chargers to just one touchdown on the TD. It would be 4 field goals by kicker Josh Lambo that would prove to be the difference.
The Chargers may once again have to rely on Lambo’s leg to beat a Broncos team that allows under 2 touchdowns per game. For the Broncos, they will need strong performances from running backs C.J. Anderson and Devontae Booker. The Chargers have been surprisingly good against the run this year, but a linebacker corps of Melvin Ingram, Jatavis Brown, and Denzel Perryman is definitely beatable.
It will also be interesting to see if San Diego rookie defensive end Joey Bosa can continue his strong play and keep the Broncos rookie quarterback under pressure. Bosa currently leads all rookies with 20 quarterback pressures despite missing a handful of games due to injury.
Though contributions from speedster Travis Benjamin will be needed, Melvin Gordon will be San Diego’s key offensive cog. The Broncos biggest weakness is against the run, and Gordon has been getting better every week. He recently steamrolled the Falcons for 121 yards from scrimmage to go along with 3 touchdowns. With another big game from Gordon, the Bolts can certainly escape with a season sweep of the Super Bowl Champions.