The Denver Broncos (9-2) are coming off their biggest win of the year after a 30-24 overtime walk-off win against the previously unbeaten New England Patriots on Sunday Night Football. The last time the Broncos came up with a huge prime time win over an unbeaten team, the followed it up with a bad loss on the road to a team with a losing record.
Denver travels to face the San Diego Chargers (3-8) who just snapped a six game losing streak and may be hungry to keep that winning feeling going for another week. If there is one thing I've learned over the decades watching NFL football is that you never sleep on a division opponent.
Here are Mile High Report's Broncos-Chargers score predictions and be sure to give yours in the widget below!
Broncos 34, Chargers 13 - Tim Lynch
When I examined this matchup, it just looks like the Broncos offense is built to exploit the weaknesses the Chargers have on defense. Philip Rivers will get a few drives in, but I fully expect Brock Osweiler to take care of the football and allow C.J. Anderson and Ronnie Hillman to run wild over this defense.
The Chargers defense allows 4.9 yards per attempt on the ground (good for worst in the NFL) and also 8.2 yards per attempt through the air (good for second worst in the NFL). This is the kind of defense that gives fans nightmares, unless your a fan of the opposing team.
For the first time as a starter, Brock Osweiler heads into this game leading the Broncos as favorites to win. Take the points, because this game shouldn't be close.
Broncos 30, Chargers 20 - Pete Baron
This game scares me. For the first time since Brock took over, I have uneasy feelings about our chances. That has nothing to do with how well he is playing, but everything to do with this being a road divisional game. Like I said back in the Peyton days when I predicted the Raiders to win, it just doesn't matter how well you are playing and how poorly your opponent is playing. When it's a divisional game, you're in for a dog fight (not the Michael Vick kind, more of the 'Top Gun' kind).
Elevated Stats: What's wrong with the Chargers?
The Denver Broncos play the San Diego Chargers in Week 13, who look like shadows of their usual selves. Let's dig in and see what's up with Philip Rivers and company.
Now, having said all of that, here's the thing: The Chargers have beaten us before, even with Peyton Manning. But they haven't beaten us with Brock. The reason that divisional games are so damn hard to win is because teams play each other twice a year, sometimes three times if they make the playoffs. That means that they are more familiar with their opponent than any other team could possibly be (even the cheating ass Patriots, and we all know that their spies keep them very familiar with all their opponents). But we have Brock. The Chargers don't know Brock. They've seen some film on him and faced him in the John Fox "hand the ball off cause I don't trust you you piss-ant" way (and we were suppose to know that Fox knew Oz better than anyone when we faced the Bears? Fox doesn't know Brock or else he'd let him actually throw a few passes over his 3 year tenure as backup).
Anyways, I'm off topic. The Chargers don't know Brock. They don't know this team with Brock. They only know the Peyton Broncos. Their coach only knows the Peyton and Tebow Broncos. They don't know the Brock Broncos. So I'm giving the edge to Denver. By how much? Well, considering the Chargers have yet to win a game when their opponents have scored 30, I'm going Broncos 30, Chargers 20.
Broncos 41, Chargers 20 - Kelly Fleming
The Chargers' offensive weapons are wearing thin, and the Broncos defense has enough depth to make up for some key injuries. McCoy doesn't have the advantage he did when Fox was our coach- Kubiak and Osweiler bring something completely new to the table. I think we see our first blow out of the season here. Broncos 41, Chargers 20.
Broncos 31, Chargers 14 - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
I never predict blowout wins for the Broncos, so me planning on a big victory margin for this team means the Chargers are a hot mess. Although Philip Rivers has been putting up big fantasy numbers (which I've appreciated, by the way), there's no way he gets by our pass rush, defensive line and No Fly Zone enough to put up any kind of threat (even if the occasional big gain to Antonio Gates happens). If we can shut down Gronk in the snow, Gates in balmy conditions should be easy. And if there is ever a matchup for our offense to obliterate an opponent, this is it. I'm predicting a 200+-yard day on the ground and a plethora of completions through the air.
Ian Henson's "Prediction"
You know what terrifies me about the Chargers? The fact that Philip Rivers has procreated like 12 times. Those kids and the Cutler clan are going to be like the Hatfields and the McCoys. You know what doesn't scare me about San Diego? Their football team.
In previous seasons it has seemed that Mike McCoy's game plan was to simply keep the ball away from Peyton Manning, well... Manning did that for him this season. I would expect a loss either in this game or the next time that these two teams play, because let's face it-- this is the Chargers' Super Bowl.
I'd like to see Osweiler improve on that mediocre QB Rating of 88.4% that currently has him ranked 22nd in the league for the statistic. If Osweiler wants the Manning questions to stop, he alone has control, and a 4 to 2 TD to INT ratio needs to be Justin Timberlake/Shawn Parker'd. Hey Broncos fans... You know what's cooler than a million touchdowns? A billion touchdowns.
San Diego likely can't run on Denver (whose defense now tied for 2nd in the league against the run), they can pass to Antonio Gates and as Rob Gronkowski that could prove to be their bread and butter especially with T.J. Ward likely to miss his second game of the season. It will be the spot return of DeMarcus Ware who could immediately improve on his 6.5 sacks that he was able to rake during the 7 games that he's been able to participate in this season.
PS: San Diego is -7 on turnover differential this season, Denver's sitting mediocre at 0. I'd expect the Chargers to get worse and the Broncos to see a positive in that column.
Broncos 27, Chargers 13 - Sadaraine
One of the best teams in the NFL face one of the worst teams in the NFL this week. Yes, it is a division game. No, I don't think the Chargers have a serious chance. They have a great QB with a terrible line protecting him. We know how this story ends and that story ending has been on repeat for the Chargers this year. Our defense is just too good to allow their very competent offense to make much noise. Our offense is finding its rhythm and absolutely will put up enough to win.
Broncos 27, Chargers 16 - Kyle Montgomery
The Chargers are a mess outside of the quarterback position. While I think a lot of the team will step up in Week 13 vs. the Broncos, I think there is enough tape on how to beat these guys where Gary Kubiak and Wade Philips can put together a gameplan to ensure victory. Rivers will get his yards, but he won't get much else. It's a close game through three quarters, but the Broncos pull away in the 4th.