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Broncos at Chargers Preview: Can Denver pull off another LA upset?

The Broncos will look to avoid being the dregs of the AFC West. To do so, Denver needs to slow down Justin Herbert and see Drew Lock keep pace with the rookie.

The last time these teams met, we saw the reappearance of Mile High Magic.

Almost two months later, the Denver Broncos (5-9) may (will) need some that magic again if they want to beat the Los Angeles Chargers (5-9). Since both teams have the same abysmal record, as the saying goes, when you get two bad teams together you usually get a good game. So there’s that.

Now that the Broncos have endured their fourth-straight losing season and fifth-straight year without an appearance in the NFL playoffs, they’re playing to not be the dregs of the AFC West. Though some in Broncos Country want that, but we won’t get into that here.

Can Denver upset the Chargers on Sunday?

On the MHR Radio Podcast, Adam Malnati and I previewed the game and gave our players to watch.

Offensive Rankings

Denver: Twenty-eighth in overall offense (323.4 yards per game), 13th in rushing (118.8), 28th in passing (204.6), 28th in scoring offense (19.7 points per game).

LA Chargers: Seventh in overall offense (383.2 yards per game), 18th in rushing (111.4), fifth in passing (272.9), 21st in scoring offense (23.4 points per game).

Defensive Rankings

Denver: Twenty-first in overall in defense (364.7 yards per game), 28th in rushing defense (134.6), tenth in passing defense (230.1), 27th in scoring defense (28.2 points per game).

LA Chargers: Tenth in overall defense (345.1 yards per game), 22nd in rushing defense (123.8), seventh in passing defense (221.3), 26th in scoring defense (27.8 points per game).

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

If Drew Lock and the Broncos offense plays like they did against the Buffalo Bills they will get flogged again. If they resemble the version we saw against the Carolina Panthers, they have a chance. With the issues at cornerback about to get exploited by Justin Herbert and his receivers, Denver needs to at least try to keep pace. — Ian St. Clair

Knock Herbert off his game

Josh Allen ripped them for 14 10+ yard passes last week and tore the defense apart with spread sets. LA has the receivers to do something similar if Bradley Chubb and the pass rush can’t intervene. — Joe Rowles

Continued progression from Lock <sarcasm font/>

We need to see Lock to continue to progress from the worst starting quarterback in the NFL to a below average starting quarterback, which will give us all hope that he has rounded the corner and well on his way to Josh Allen-like eliteness. If he can prove to us that he is that Kyle Orton-like guy in 2020, then maybe he can prove to us he can become that Josh Allen-like stud in 2021. Bring the heat, Drew! Let’s go!!! — Tim Lynch

Knock Herbert off his game II

The defense has to slow Herbert. He’s the best QB in the world, and we should all just feel lucky to be able to watch him work. However, if the defensive line can disrupt this timing, maybe the Chargers offense can be slowed down. — Adam Malnati

Continued progression from Lock <no sarcasm font/>

Lock needs to prove he’s actually improving and go toe-to-toe with the young rookie quarterback who is actually impressing. — Scotty Lynch

What are your keys to Sunday’s game?