The Denver Broncos were asleep at the wheel two weeks ago and the San Diego Chargers kind of manhandled them to a 21-13 victory on Thursday Night Football. That can’t happen this Sunday for Denver.
The Mile High Report staff and That’s Good Broncos give their score predictions here. Our consensus was Broncos 22, Chargers 14. A win is a win and I’d take that one.
Here are our individual score predictions.
Broncos 24, Chargers 13
If the Denver Broncos want to prove something about who they are as a team, this game is that opportunity. I said last week was a statement win by the team. Bouncing back after an unexpected two game slide was more than just a little important. Now it is imperative that they back that win up. It was easy to get up for Brock week, and a chance at revenge should be no different.
San Diego made the Broncos look bad. They made the defense look bad in the first quarter. They blew up the offensive line. They owned the first game two weeks ago. That being said, Denver still had a shot to win late in the game. San Diego has evolved, as teams do during the regular season, and their defense is not the pushover that people expected it to be. However, the injuries are still a problem, and the offense will have chances to exploit the secondary.
The offensive line should continue to get better, as the Broncos are also continuing to evolve. The big hurdle will be the loss of C.J. Anderson, but Devontae Booker looked like he could carry the load. The offense will lean on the rookies Booker and Andy Janovich up front. Multiple two tight end sets will be implemented, and Denver will take control of the game on the ground.
Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders will find openings in the secondary because of that, and Denver's offense should be able to control the clock and the ball. The defense will do what the defense always does. It won't be a huge blowout, but the Broncos will come away with a division win. - Adam Malnati
Broncos 16, Chargers 13
It's been a rough couple of days for the Broncos. After losing C.J. Anderson for the year and revealing a long list of other injuries to key players like center Matt Paradis and star cornerback Aqib Talib, the Broncos come into Sunday's rematch with San Diego battered and bruised. The Chargers are playing well on both sides of the ball and should be confident after beating the Broncos two weeks earlier. The pass rush of San Diego should once again cause problems for the Broncos and Denver must establish a run game if they want to be effective on the offensive side of the ball.
While I think the offense will struggle I think the Denver defense will be out for blood. The Chargers made the defending champs look over matched on the defensive side of the ball two weeks ago and I cannot see that happening again. Von Miller had a huge game the last time these two teams met and I expect that to happen again.
Points will be hard to come by in this rematch but I think the Broncos defense comes up big and the Broncos pull it out 16-13. - Derek Ahrnsbrak
Broncos 24, Chargers 16
Very few players on this Broncos team know what a losing skid beyond two games is, and certainly no players know anything about losing both games to an AFC West opponent. And that's not going to start this weekend.
Philip Rivers is always trouble, and Travis Benjamin and Hunter Henry plus Melvin Gordon, that Chargers offense won't be easy to stop. But this Broncos defense stifled them in San Diego outside a few big plays and will be even more motivated to do so at home. I expect the offense to still sputter a bit as it gets in rhythm, but I don't doubt that it will.
Building off momentum from last week, I see one passing touchdown from Trevor, a 50+ kick from McManus and a TD from Andy "I will knock you on your a**" Janovich. I'll even throw in a pick six from Talib to give the Broncos 24. Rivers is a formidable opponent, so the Bolts will get to 16 (I'll let you do the math on how). - Laurie Lattimore-Volkmann
Broncos 16, Chargers 13
Don’t look now, but Philip Rivers and the Chargers are on a roll. The Broncos seemed to get a little of their mojo back after the win over Houston. Put it all together and you have the makings for a great divisional-rivalry game on Sunday. Who wins will come down to the team that makes the fewest mistakes, and Denver’s defense should/will get after Rivers to create havoc and turnovers. If the Broncos’ running game doesn’t produce, it will be a redo of two weeks ago in San Diego. Says here Denver gets a field goal late to escape with a win. - Ian St. Clair
Broncos 24, Chargers 16
If you were wondering how to beat the Broncos' offense with Trevor Siemian behind center, all a team must do is: load the box with 8 men, keep a safety on the offense's left hash mark and viola. Siemian doesn't throw to his right too often and when he does there is less than a 50% chance that the ball is completed and in the event that the team audibles to the run? Well, you've got 7 men in the box and Joey Bosa. That's the simple recipe to defeating Denver's offensive gameplan with Siemian at the helm and that's how you saw San Diego win 16 days ago.
To bake an apple pie, you must first create the universe.
Fun fact: Denver's defense has only given up 10 touchdowns this season, that's 1.4 touchdowns per game. That's how inept the 2016 Broncos offense has been allowed to be with their average of 22.14 (and Brandon McManus averaging 8.1 of that) points per game. I'm willing to bet with a change of guard at running back the offense will look a bit more dynamic.
Hopefully, Denver has a new game plan this time and I think that game plan will revolve around Devontae Booker who averaged 9.2 yards-per-carry against the Chargers just over two weeks ago. Inexplicably C.J. Anderson couldn't get it going that game and even more inexplicably Booker was given only five touches, but the option of not playing Booker is no longer in the hands of the Gary Kubiak-less coaching staff. The man is back and the Broncos have not lost a game this season with their head coach functioning at full capacity.
Defensively Von Miller spent a lot of time in pass coverage in these teams week 6 matchup, but the solution that Wade Phillips drew up last week for Denver's game that shut down the mighty Brock Osweiler and the AFC South-leading Texans' offense should be more than win worthy for this rematch. Phillips called on zone coverage and left Darian Stewart to spy on Lamar Miller. Melvin Gordon isn't likely to see another career day this weekend.
The Broncos are going to win this game so convincingly that there will be questions as to whether or not the NFL should add one more minute to the week 6 game to prove that the Chargers had no business winning that one in the first place. - Ian Henson
Broncos 31, Chargers 10
Last week saw Andy Janovich being used to our best advantage. Our RBs finally trusted him and followed behind the holes he created. It caught the Texans off guard. It won't with SD. They'll be prepared for the run, but what we still don't have, seven games in, is a passing attack beyond ten yards or to the middle/right side of the field.
This is where SD should be exploited. Their secondary on the right is weak. Last week, Matt Ryan abused them. SD is now prepared for our run and short throws to the left, but don't have any film on using other parts of the field. With the addition of TE AJ Derby, we could now see DT and E go back to running wideout routes, maybe use some crossing routes, too letting Derby and Green run the slot ones. This will set the Chargers back on their heels.
Like us, SD has trouble wrapping up TE's. We've yet to allow a WR TD, so TE and RBs are our weak spot.
If Siemian can get a passing game going early, Booker and Bibbs should get the room they need to run. If that occurs, allowing passes across the field, we could run things up and SD won't be able to get back in the game.
If we can smother Melvin Gordon and Hunter Henry, Things could get ugly for SAN Diego. Dekoda Watson and Shaq Barrett aren't great in pass coverage, but are beasts at stopping the run. Billy Winn is being underutilized. If Wade uses these three players more, Rivers will be forced to use his WRs more, playing right into our #NoFlyZone. Who has yet to allow a WR TD since Kelvin Benjamin.
Based on us having a real two tight end set and stopping Gordon, Denver 31, SD 10. - Julie Dixon
Broncos 24, Chargers 16
As I predicted in an earlier post, the difference maker will be Gary Kubiak and how he coaches up Trevor Siemian to overcome the Chargers game plan that wrecked his day two weeks ago. He will succeed. - Tim Lynch