It is always a fun time when the Chargers and Broncos get to duke it out on the field. But do you know what’s even more fun? When the Broncos are win-less and the Bolts have the chance to give Denver their first 0-5 start in franchise history.
Yes, that is correct.
The Broncos have never started a season with five-straight losses and LA actually has the opportunity to step on their heads while they’re struggling to stay afloat.
At 2-2, Chargers fans may not feel that much better about there team, though. The .500 record is only made worse by the idling fact that the team could very-well be undefeated were it not for an inability to score points after halftime in weeks two and three.
This past Sunday against the abysmal Miami Dolphins, the Chargers found a way to flip the script. They managed just 10 points in the first half before scoring twice that amount in the second half to leave HardRock with a 30-10 victory.
This team has been a little too up-and-down for most fans’ liking and it making each Sunday feel like we’re all playing a game of roulette.
“Which Chargers team will show up today? Let’s spin the wheel and find out...”
This week looks to also be the debut of running back Melvin Gordon. Gordon surprisingly returned to the team days before they traveled to Miami and, although it was teased that he would see limited snaps, Gordon was kept from the field.
However, this week it looks to be a more-concrete possibility that Gordon not only sees the field but likely receives double-digit touches alongside Austin Ekeler. Whether that will be a good thing for team success is yet to be seen, but it’ll still be bit refreshing to see more of the players we are accustomed to on game day as we all navigate the next few weeks, waiting for the pile of bodies on the injury report to come back to life.
With that being said, he are this weeks three things that I’ll be watching closely as the Chargers welcome the Broncos to Dignity Health Sports Park.
1.) How will the Vic Fangio deploy Von MIller with Bradley Chubb out for the season? Will he stay mostly on the right side or will he move around the defensive front?
Whenever this team faces an elite pass-rusher, I find myself cringing sporadically throughout the week because I can’t help but imagine Philip Rivers running for his life behind this offensive line.
Sam Tevi and Trent Scott are one of the youngest and most-inexperienced offensive tackle duos in the league. One was a sixth-round pick, the other was a UDFA out of Grambling State.
Although the two did a respectable job against Trey Flowers when they faced the Detroit Lions, they weren’t nearly as up-to-par when it came to J.J. Watt and Whitney Merciless of the Houston Texans.
With second-string tight end Virgil Green possibly coming back from a groin injury, the Chargers may have a little extra help to give to the tackles. As Lance Kendricks seems to be the new receiving threat at that position, Green could pay dividends in situations that require max protection across the line.
2.) The heavyweight match-up between Keenan Allen and Chris Harris
Harris may be the only slot corner other than Desmond King that can lay claim to the best slot corner in the NFL. Every time these two go at it, fireworks fly,
In 2017, Allen caught just eight passes for 76 yards and score across the two contests. In 2018. Allen improved to 13 catches for 153 yards and another score. This year, the Broncos defense is at a low-point compared to previous seasons and there’s no reason Allen can’t continue his hot-streak with opposing offenses needed to give more attention to Mike Williams in his third year.
Heading into Sunday, Pro Football Focus has Harris with a lowly 67.6 overall grade while Allen is sitting pretty with a near-elite 84.4.
3.) The Chargers cannot let the young Broncos steal one at home for the second-straight year
In the first match-up between these two teams in 2018, the Broncos sweated-out a victory in Costa Mesa on the backs of their first-year players, the most notable being wide receiver Courtland Sutton and running back Phillip Lindsay.
In that game, Lindsay finished with 78 rushing yards and a pair of scores. One of those being a touchdown of over 30 yards that demoralized the team at the time. Sutton chipped in 78 receiving yards on three catches, including a big gain on the final drive that helped setup the Broncos within field goal range. They would go on to make the kick to walk away winners, 23-22.
This time around, the rookies for the Broncos play positions with much impact. Their top-3 selections were tight end Noah Fant, offensive guard/tackle Dalton Risner, and quarterback Drew Lock.
The first two are starters on offense with Lock being the lone player riding the pine.
It’s much less likely that any of their first-year players play defining roles in this games’ outcome, but my overarching point is this: the Chargers can’t let normally irrelevant players be the ones to rip sweet victory out of their hands.