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Broncos vs Chargers preview: Denver looks to avoid franchise’s first-ever 0-5 start

The Denver Broncos need to find a way to flip the script from the last eight games and just find a way to get a win on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers.

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As the losses mount, so too does the frustration.

The Denver Broncos head to their ninth home game against the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday 0-4 and 0-8 dating back to early December. To state the obvious: The Broncos need a win in the worse possible way. Is this finally the week it happens?

On the MHR Radio Podcast (Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, and Spotify), Adam Malnati and I try to figure out where Denver goes from here, as well as give our players to watch and keys to Sunday’s game.

Offensive Rankings

Denver: Eighteenth in overall offense (349.2 yards), 21st in rushing (100.5), 15th in passing (248.8) and tied for 26th in points (17.5).

LA Chargers: Fifth in overall offense (403.8 yards), 18th in rushing (103.5), third in passing (300.2) and 14th in points (22.5).

Defensive Rankings

Denver: Fifteenth in overall defense (349.2 yards), 30th in rushing (149.2), fifth in passing (200.0) and 17th in points (23.2).

LA Chargers: Twelfth in overall defense (331.0 yards), 14th in rushing (102.0), 11th in passing (229.0) and ninth in points (18.5).

Here are the MHR staff’s keys to Sunday’s game.


Over the last eight games, we’ve laid out as a staff the keys for a Broncos win. One of us could have put “rinse, lather, repeat” and that would suffice. For Sunday’s game vs the Chargers, finish. Do whatever it takes to win the game, just get it done. If not, the Broncos will make more (awful) history by becoming the first team in franchise history to start a season 0-5. Ian St. Clair

Gel as a team

We’ve seen flashes of potential greatness, but nothing that has come together for ... well, even a series. Can’t give up big plays. Special teams needs to be solid, and it’s time that both the offense and defense play with some creative desperation. Let Phillip Lindsay get 30 touches, let Joe Flacco throw the long bomb two or three times to Emmanuel Sanders and Courtland Sutton (each). Let Von Miller blitz all day. Utilize the talents that Denver’s more special players posses. The Broncos are winless going into LA against an AFC West rival. Avoid playing traditional football. — Casey Barrett

Flip the script

This team needs to flip the script on the philosophy overall. Denver’s defense is not good. The offense has lots of skill talent. Open up the passing game, get aggressive early, and try to win by scoring a ton of points. Don’t abandon the run game, but stop making it the focus that keeps the offense under 30 points every week. The Broncos defense (lower case d) can’t win games anymore, so create big holes that our opponents can’t get out of. — Sadarine

Show up in the third quarter

Be prepared to play a football game in the third quarter. — Adam Malnati

Make a damn tackle

The Chargers and Philip Rivers are going to work the short game with Austin Ekeler and Keenan Allen and force Denver to come up and make tackles in space. In the run game vs the Jacksonville Jaguars, the tackling was severely lacking and allowed Leonard Fournette to run wild. Shore that up, play all four quarters like the Broncos did the first half against Jacksonville and maybe they can come away with that elusive win. — Jeff Essary

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What are your keys to the Broncos getting their first win?