John Woz, Jr. | October 5th, 2019
The 0-4 Denver Broncos head to the 2-2 Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday. It’s an AFC West Divisional game with plenty at stake. Denver knocked the Bolts off their stride in the corresponding game in 2018. Vic Fangio is reeling at the loss of pass rusher Bradley Chubb, but a road win in L.A. will boost the morale of the Broncos.
The Chargers season so far
The Bolts have been different in 2019, partly because of their long injury list, but also because of the penalties and their inability to pressure the quarterback. The Chargers could easily be 4-0 at this point of the season, but that’s not the case. Sunday’s game is an opportunity for Philip Rivers to continue on his good start to the season. Rivers, in his 16th year in the league, continues to play with the enthusiasm of a young pro.
Chargers offensive weapons
Rivers to Keenan Allen, it’s a quarterback wide receiver combo that is producing the numbers. Allen leads the league in targets and yards, but it’s on the ground where the Chargers could excel throughout the rest of the season. Coach Anthony Lynn could give Melvin Gordon his first start of the season, but it’s an unfamiliar name who has made the headlines in the Powder Blue.
Austin Ekeler is the first undrafted rookie to have three rushing touchdowns and three receiving touchdowns in the same season. Rivers has a new weapon in Ekeler, a versatile player with 490 all-purpose yards. Denver has had difficulties stopping the run, and they are ranked 30th in the league. Justin Jackson could support Gordon and Ekeler, but the second-year pro didn’t practice on Friday. Ken Whisenhunt should be smart with his play calling, and allow the Bolts to run the football, without being too predictable.
The offensive line looks shaky, and Von Miller will look to repeat his incredible performance against the Chargers in 2018. The left tackle spot has been an issue for the Bolts, Rivers may need to release the football early should Denver breach the pocket.
Chargers defensive questions
Gus Bradley has to trust his guys on defense. The absence of Melvin Ingram and Derwin James doesn’t help the Chargers, they are two key players who can make the difference on the field. Desmond King had 2.5 sacks last week and he leads the Chargers in that department. Joey Bosa can add to his two sacks on the season against Joe Flacco, a quarterback not known for his mobility.
The Miami Dolphins held the Chargers to a field goal after Rivers led his offense on a drive lasting 10:33. Denver’s key to the game will be to limit the Bolts in the Red Zone. Miller beat the Chargers up in 2018, blocking him will be a huge challenge. Expect Miller to have another stellar game on Sunday. The Broncos will rely on his presence in the absence of Chubb. Denver has impressed against the pass, however, they are yet to have an interception on the season.
Phillip Lindsay likes to run the football hard. The 25-year-old has 54 carries, with 213 yards and two touchdowns this season. Could he be the key to success for the Broncos on Sunday? The veteran wideout, Emmanuel Sanders could be on a snap count. Sanders is coming off a quadriceps injury. Mike Munchak continues to improve the Denver offensive line, and Denver has a chance in this game if they can protect Flacco.
This matchup will be a good test for both teams. It’s a shame that some of the top players on both rosters will not feature in this game. The Broncos will compete for the win, but the Chargers will win by 10. Can the home team score a touchdown without it being called back for a penalty?
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