Los Angeles Chargers (0-0 SU, 0-0-0 PS, 0-0-0 O/U) vs Denver Broncos (0-0 SU, 0-0-0 PS, 0-0-0 O/U)
When: 10:20 PM EDT, Monday, September 11, 2017
Where: SunTrust Park in Atlanta, Georgia
Lines: Broncos -3.5
Monday evening on the NFL gridiron and a pair of AFC West foes will duke it out as the Los Angeles Chargers travel to Sports Authority Field in Denver, Colorado to rumble with the Denver Broncos. The Chargers have a new home and a new head coach and will be looking to make it to the postseason for the first time since 2013, while the Broncos also have a new head man and will be looking to make it back to the postseason after missing out last year, which was the first time they missed out since 2011.
Chargers Are Hoping To Surprise
The Los Angeles Chargers have a new home and a new head coach in Anthony Lynn, who has been charged with the task of getting them to the postseason for the first time since 2013. Well, he may eventually, but probably not this year and the reason for that is the fact that they still have plenty of questions on a defense that didn’t play all that well last year and didn’t really look good in the preseason. They were just 16th in total yards allowed, but 29th in points allowed, giving up 26.4 ppg. The really needed help in their secondary as they were 20th in the league against the pass last year and they did use a 4th round and a 5th round pick on a couple of safeties. Still, they have plenty of question marks on this side of the ball and HC Lynn wants them to adopt an attacking style defense. They will need the players for that though.
The Chargers again will have a strong offense that is led by Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon, plus a nice collection of receivers and an improved offensive line. They also added WR Mike Williams with the 7th overall pick in the draft and he has just been removed from the PUP list and will start practicing with the team. He was expected to be out until mid-October. Once he does get on the field, this offense will have the potential to be a top five unit and they will; need to be as they have to cover up a weak defense. San Diego made some nice moves to protect Rivers and surround him with more weapons, but still, they will need to get better play from their defense if they hope to make a run at a postseason berth.
Can This Defense Lead The To The Playoffs?
If defense wins championships, then the Broncos should be in the mix as this was one of the best defenses in the league last year and it could be even better this year, especially with the additions of 2nd round pick DE DeMarcus Walker and 3rd round pick CB Brendan Langley. The Broncos were 4th in the league in yards allowed and 4th in points allowed last year and I see them ranking in that range again. Their pass defense was tops in the league as they allowed just 185.8 ypg through the air last year and that will come into play against the Chargers in this one. Last year, the Broncos allowed just 166 yards passing in the game at San Diego, but they allowed 267 yards passing in their home game against the bolts. Ironically, they lost in San Diego and won their home game.
The Offense was not very good last year and they really must settle on Trevor Siemian or Paxton Lynch at QB. Lynch probably has the better upside. The ground game got a boost as they brought in Jamaal Charles to help out a unit that put up just 93 ypg on the ground last year, but the offensive line still needs some work. They did take OT Garett Bolles with their first pick in the draft and brought in a couple of OL through free agency, but this is still the weak link on their offense. If they get Siemian or Lynch time to throw in this game, then they have a chance at doing damage against a weak Chargers’ secondary. The Broncos have to play the toughest schedule in the league, but their defense is very strong and their offense will be better, so I will look for them to take second in the division and one of the AFC Wildcard slots.
Los Angeles is:
- 5-0 ATS in their last five games in Week one
- 11-3-1 ATS in their last 15 games in September
- 2-6-1 ATS in their last nine Monday games
- 2-6 ATS in their last eight vs. the AFC West
This could be a good game. The Chargers have a very solid offense, while the Broncos will have one of the best defenses in the league. The Chargers offense will be explosive and they did throw for 267 yards here in Denver last year. The problem for Denver this year will come on the offensive side of the ball and they just may not be able to score enough in this one to win it comfortably. The Chargers are 8-2 ATS the last 10 games in this series and the road team is 10-3-1 ATS the last 14 games in this series. The Broncos have the edge on defense, but the Chargers’ offense will make enough plays to at least cover the game.
Pick: San Diego +3.5
Offense vs defense. This one should be a great game to watch. The game in San Diego last year put up just 34 points, while the game here in Denver put up 46 points. The Broncos do not have a great offense, but they should try an hit some big plays in this one against a Chargers’ secondary that is not that strong. The Bolts have a very good offense that is led by Philip Rivers and Melvin Gordon, plus a strong corps of receivers. I look for them to be able to score on the Broncos in this one. The Over is 6-1 in Denver’s last seven games in week one, while the Over is 9-3 the last 12 meetings between these teams here in Denver. Take the Over in this one.