Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#265 Los Angeles Chargers vs.
#266 Denver Broncos
Sunday, November 28, 2021 at 4:05pm EST
Sports Authority Field, Denver
Written by Eric P.

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The Denver Broncos play host to the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday afternoon from Empower Field at Mile High. In a crucial AFC West showdown, the Chargers come in trying to keep pace with the Chiefs atop the division. For the Broncos, losses in five of their last seven games have them searching for a bounce-back of sorts as well. In the last ten meetings, the Broncos have won six of them for a slight edge in the series, though the Chargers took the last meeting around Christmas time, 19-16. With little to be expected to be the difference between the two teams, this could be one of the most interesting games in the late-afternoon slate.

Chargers Playing With Fire

The Chargers are coming off wins in two of the last three games and came back in a big way against the Steelers last week. After blowing a big fourth-quarter lead, the Chargers mounted a final drive to take the win and keep themselves afloat in the AFC West. Consistency continues to be an issue for the Chargers, which plagued them last season as well. The hope is that a game against a Denver team that has struggled since their hot start might serve the Chargers well to keep building on their confidence and momentum as the final stretch of the season approaches.

The Chargers have 15 players appearing on this week's injury report, which is one of the better numbers in the league. The better news is that only five of those players have been ruled out already for the weekend, which could serve as a huge boost to their depth.

The Chargers' offense has slowed down slightly since the start of the season but still, comes in ranked 11th in the league in scoring. They are top ten in both total yards per game and total yards per play, mainly doing it through the air. They only rank 21st in rushing yards per game but are sixth in passing yards per game.

Justin Herbert is averaging just under 300 yards per game through the air, tossing 22 touchdowns compared to only eight interceptions. On the ground, Austin Ekeler has turned it on in recent weeks, especially after his four-touchdown performance last weekend. The key though is LA's duo of wide receivers, along with Ekeler, who should have their way on the outside.

The defense is the struggle for the Chargers and unless that improves, an AFC West title seems like it could be out of reach. They rank 27th in the league in scoring defense and are bottom ten of the league in sacks per game and interceptions per game. The Broncos' offense doesn't pose a massive problem on the weekend but it's clear the Chargers need to shore things up.

Broncos Desperate For AFC West Win

After starting the season 3-0, a four-game skid quickly tempered expectations for the Broncos. Then, just as they looked like they might be turning a corner again, a 17-point loss to the Eagles at home made it clear that this team is probably a few steps away from contending for a Wild Card spot. Being the home team should prove to be an advantage but unless the offense improves, the defense might not be able to hold up the team much longer.

The Broncos come in with 22 players on their injury report heading into the weekend, with nine players already ruled out for the weekend. Melvin Gordon (shoulder) is probable and is one to keep an eye on. The secondary probably has the most to lose depending on how the injury and gameday decisions play out, with three safeties either questionable or probable. The defense is the backbone of the team and to see injuries play out on that side of the ball could be devastating.

Denver's offense is averaging 20 points per game, good for 23rd in the league but at least have some balance associated with their game plan. They rank 17th in the league in rushing yards per game and rushing attempts per game, and are 16th in passing yards per game and 18th in passing attempts per game.

Teddy Bridgewater is averaging 238 yards per game through the air but has struggled to finish off drives, with only 14 touchdowns. The running back room remains their best asset, averaging over 100 yards per game on the ground between Gordon and Javonte Williams. If the Broncos can control the clock and keep the Chargers off of the field, they have a shot to make things interesting.

The defense is the priority of this team and coming in ranked third in the league in scoring defense, shows that they should always have a chance. The passing matchup will be the one to keep an eye on, with the Chargers doing the majority of their damage through the air. If Denver can get healthy in the next few days on the defensive side and put pressure on Herbert, they can ensure some short-field situations.

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The Chargers will like their chances to find a second straight win as they head on the road to Denver and their offense is likely to carry them there. The Broncos have one of the better defenses in the league but given their injuries, especially in the secondary, the Chargers are playing them at the perfect time. Beyond that, Ekeler has stepped up in a big way of late and if he can run the ball with the power and prowess that he did last weekend, the completeness of the Chargers' offense will be too much for Denver to overcome, no matter how well the defense plays. Additionally, according to covers.com, the Chargers are 5-0 ATS in their last five games on grass and are 5-0 ATS in their last five games against AFC West opponents. For Denver, the Broncos are 0-4 ATS in their last four games against AFC opponents.

Prediction: Chargers (-3)

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The Chargers might not struggle to score but will likely put up fewer points than they typically do, given how well Denver has been playing on that side of the ball. For the Broncos, the Chargers' defensive line should be able to put Bridgewater under some pressure and for a team already struggling to score, likely will have even more issues on the weekend. The two teams combine to score only 46 points per game, while they combine to allow only about 45 points per game. Additionally, according to covers.com, for Denver, the under is 4-0 in their last four games overall and is 5-0 in their last five games in November. In meetings between the two teams, the under is 5-2 in their last seven meetings.

Prediction: Under 47.5
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Written By Eric Ploch , "Eric P."

Eric grew up surrounded by sports, whether it was spending the weekend catching games in person or on tv, or heading out to the fields to play whatever sport was in season. What started as a hobby, soon became a passion, as he became the sports editor of his high school newspaper, then wrote for his university newspaper during his undergrad years. After obtaining a degree in Sports Operations and Promotions, and spending 8 years deeply immersed in the sports world, Eric decided to take his love for analytics and predictions, and his experience, to online sports fans everywhere. James is now an integral part of our team here at StatSalt and has also been a very successful sports bettor over the years. Be sure and follow him daily.