The Denver Broncos are home underdogs to a division rival for the second straight week as they host the Los Angeles Chargers. That’s amazing considering both teams a woeful 2-4 through six games, but one team is coming off a win and the other a blowout loss.
Collectively, we see a Chargers 23-22 win over the Broncos. As you’ll see below from our individual predictions, that collective score was ruined by one staff writers pessimism. If not for that, we likely would have had a close Broncos win to report here.
Here is how we predict things individually.
Broncos 31, Chargers 27
Oddsmakers are loving Justin Herbert, but I think I’ll take a veteran defensive staff who have coached great defenses year after year on this one. Herbert will have a tough day with Drew Lock and the Broncos having a great bounce-back game. The Chargers score late to make it close, but Denver still gets the win. - Tim Lynch
Broncos 27, Chargers 23
The question has to be whether or not Drew Lock can bounce back from his poor play against the Chiefs? I think he can, and I think he will. I also believe in the defense, which played very well against the Chiefs, even though the score might not make it look like that. It’s been a heck of a week in Broncos Country, with all the consternation around Lock’s development. However, this is exactly the kind of game that can help get Lock and the offense back on track. If the defense can continue to play well, and rattle Justin Herbert, that should give the Broncos offense a chance to step up and make some big plays. Look for some actual offensive production, and a win to keep the playoff hopes alive. - Adam Malnati
Chargers 24, Broncos 20
The Chargers’ defense took Mahomes and the Chiefs to overtime, and the Chargers’ young quarterback is playing much better than Denver’s young quarterback right now. Denver needs a bounce back game after the disaster against Kansas City, but I don’t think it fully comes this week. - Jeff Essary
Chargers 21, Broncos 10
Earlier this week I thought the Broncos could win a game ugly. Something like 14-10.
The Broncos sacrificed their run defense to slow down Patrick Mahomes last week, but they’ve been one of the best in football this season. Bouye’s return also seems to have been a shot in the arm for the secondary. The ingredients are there for Fangio to give Justin Herbert his first real “welcome to the NFL” type of game.
I’m in the dark on the Broncos OL as I write this beyond Graham Glasgow’s Covid test. If two other starting linemen are out for this game all bets are off, especially if it’s Bolles or Dotson. Drew Lock’s been so shaky against pressure that I have zero faith he’ll be able to overcompensate for callow tackles against Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram.
If the Broncos have Bolles-Risner-Cushenberry-Schlottmann-Dotson across the line and Shurmur feeds the rock to Melvin Gordon and Phillip Lindsay, I think they have a decent chance.
Since I have to make a prediction before I know what that’s going to look like, I’ll say Chargers 21-Broncos 10. Lock has another couple of stupid mistakes due to pressure. - Joe Rowles
Broncos 24, Chargers 21
This is a fascinating game for Lock and the Broncos. At this point, it’s a safe bet that the defense will show up and show out. What would help is to force Herbert into some turnovers. Sunday is when Denver improves just enough offensively to get the close win. Lock will also play better to help give the Broncos a three-game winning streak over Los Angeles. - Ian St. Clair