The Chargers enter this week’s game against the Broncos as three-point underdogs on the road. To help us preview this week’s matchup, we got some help from Ian St. Clair of our sister site, Mile High Report.
Without further ado, let’s go ahead and jump right in!
1. The news just came down the pipe while typing this that Russell Wilson is being benched for Jarrett Stidham during the final two weeks of the season. Multiples reasons were giving, including the future financial stipulations should he get severely injured and the fact that Sean Payton isn’t happy with the offense. Which one do you believe is the bigger reason for this move and what are your expectations for Stidham the rest of the season?
Still coming to grips with the news of Wilson being benched and the Broncos moving on from him. Since Super Bowl 50, this franchise has been unwilling to make difficult decisions. So all of this is foreign to Broncos Country. In terms of the reasons why the move was made, I think it’s both financial and performance. There isn’t one that’s bigger than the other. And while the stats say Wilson has played pretty well, they don’t tell the whole story. Wilson has been incredibly inconsistent and not good enough. Wilson was terrible against the New England Patriots, and that was the final straw. As for Stidham, I don’t really have expectations. He was in the same situation a season ago with the Las Vegas Raiders. The biggest question is: Can he do enough to become the Broncos QB next season?
2. The Broncos’ season has certainly looked the part of a roller coaster. They started on the down slope, found some momentum and ascended upward for a stretch, and have since seen their trajectory plummet once again. What has happened to cause each change in direction and how can they turn it around these next two games?
I don’t think anyone expected the Broncos to have ascension after the 1-5 start. Obviously, Denver captured lightning in a bottle. The biggest factor in all of this is the turnovers the defense created. In that five-game winning streak, it was an insane run. Now that it’s stopped, the offense isn’t getting the ball in good field position and cannot capitalize on extra possessions. Payton didn’t think winning the steak would happen since the Broncos went to Wilson and his agents about the injury settlement in his contract. As for the next two games, this will obviously spark the team, but will it be enough? Denver also needs to win the turnover battle in both games.
3.) With the Russell Wilson news dropping, many would suggest this means his time in Denver is all but done. If this is the case, in hindsight, how do you and the fan base view the massive trade that sent him out to Denver?
Hindsight is always 20/20, but no one would make this trade knowing what we know now. But this move was a reaction to hiring Nathaniel Hackett with the thought that would get Aaron Rodgers. When that didn’t happen, George Paton panicked. The fact Paton and the organization thought hiring Hackett would get Rodgers was foolhardy and what set this all in motion. At least the Broncos didn’t trade for Deshaun Watson, unlike the franchise in Cleveland.
4.) If you could sit in the seat of the Broncos offensive and defensive coordinators, how would you go about trying to both stop this current iteration of the Chargers offense and exploit the Chargers defense?
I would put the video of the game in LA. That’s the best the Broncos have played all season. It was a complete, complementary game from Denver and how fans thought the team would play in the final four games. Obviously that didn’t happen. But the defense got consistent pressure on the Chargers QBs with a great complement of blitzes from linebackers and the secondary. The offense was able to run the ball, made plays in both the running and passing game and scored TDs. So my job as the offensive and defensive coordinator would be “easy.” Just watch that game in LA.
5.) DraftKings Sportsbook now has the Broncos as three-point favorites over the Chargers with Stidham expected to start. The over/under is currently set at 37.5. Go ahead and give us a final score prediction for this game along with whether or not you’re taking the over or under in this one.
I do think the Broncos will get a spark from the move to Stidham. But I think that could be short-lived. Think of a runner sprinting at the beginning of the race and gassing out midway through the race. This game could go either way, but the Chargers will get the win, 20-17. And obviously, my score prediction shows I’m taking the under.