Game Preview: Chargers at Broncos...Chargers on Defense

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 2: Cornerback Marcus Gilchrist #38 of the San Diego Chargers celebrates after his first quarter interception against the Miami Dolphins at Qualcomm Stadium on September 25, 2011 in San Diego, California. The Chargers won 26-16. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Going into Mile High, The Charger defense has a chance to put the Bronco offense in a chokehold. Denver is struggling on offense and overall, the Chargers have a decent defense that has the ability to shut down the Broncos. Keeping WR Eric Decker's impact to a minimum and limiting a relatively weak run offense will be keys to this team heading into the bye at 4-1. That, and trying to get at least one turnover out of a team that likes to give the ball away about twice per game. Looking at the chart below, you can see that in many aspects, these two teams are on opposite ends of the statistical spectrum.

 

 

Yards/Game

Rank

DVOA

Rank

Points/Game

Rank

Yards/Play

Rank

Chargers Defense

297.8

6

9.3%

19

21.2

11

5.5

14

Broncos Offense

310.8

24

-6.9%

25

20.2

22

5.1

24

The Broncos have a hard time throwing the ball as well as running with it, ranking in the bottom third of the NFL in each of those categories. The Chargers defense ranks in the top third for both, so expect a lot of 3rd down opportunities to decide whether or not the Broncos can sustain a drive. They currently convert 45% of their 3rd downs, 7th best in the NFL. The Bolts allow 43%, which is 10th worst.

Kyle Orton throws more incompletions than Rivers, and as many picks. He's also been sacked 9 times this year, so as an average, expect him to take at least 2 sacks this game and throw one interception. His DVOA is 20th at 1.9%. If the Broncos fall behind, you can bet that Chargers defensive coordinator Greg Manusky will have an aggressive gameplan with blitzes and combination coverage that gave Miami a difficult task last week.

Rushing

Averaging a team high 4.5 yards per carry, the biggest threat on the Broncos is QB Kyle Orton. If we go by total rushing production, that would be RB Willis McGahee. A hard runner averaging a steady 3.8 yards per carry. Expect him to have about 15 carries for 55 yards and Knowshon Moreno to have about 12 for 40. Neither is much of a threat catching the ball. Speaking of which...

Receivers

Eric Decker? Orton's new favorite target. He's averaging 5 catches per game and 68 yards and a Touchdown. Brandon Lloyd is almost at Decker's level of production, but he does nothing in the red zone. Expect them to account for 75% of Orton's pass production, as the other receivers and tight ends are not of significance when it comes to offensive stats.

(All VOA, DVOA, YAR and DYAR statistical values are developed, calculated and reported by Football Outsiders. Their explanation can be found here.)

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