The Denver Broncos are left to play spoiler.
Barring a major miracle, the Broncos will fail to make the playoffs. Of course, the first task in all of that is to win on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. Given Justin Herbert and the Chargers were just embarrassed by the hapless Houston Texans, they will be highly motivated to get back on track.
To the surprise of no one, DraftKings Sportsbook has the Broncos has huge underdogs to LA. Right after the game, the spread number was at +6.5, so the fact it’s dropped to +5 is a minor surprise. It’ll be interesting to see if that number sticks or jumps up again. As for the total, it sits at 45. For those interested, the under is 12-3 this season in Denver games.
Denver: Nineteenth in overall offense (329.0 yards per game), 13th in rushing (116.7), 19th in passing (212.3), 23rd in scoring offense (19.9 points per game).
LA Chargers: Fourth in overall offense (390.2 yards per game), 18th in rushing (109.7), fourth in passing (280.5), eighth in scoring offense (27.2 points per game).
Denver: Sixth in overall defense (320.9 yards per game), 13th in rushing defense (110.2), tied for fifth in passing defense (210.7), tied for first in scoring defense (17.3 points per game).
LA Chargers: Twenty-second in overall defense (363.8 yards per game), 29th in rushing defense (140.3), 12th in passing defense (223.5), 31st in scoring defense (27.4 points per game).
Here are the MHR staff’s keys to Sunday’s game.
Broncos offense needs to do something, anything
If not for Bradley Chubb and his interception, Denver’s offense would have done literally nothing. If the Broncos want any chance on Sunday, that needs to change. Whether it’s the passing or running game, do something. If not, it could get really ugly. — Ian St. Clair
Friends to watch it with
Get food and drink to enjoy together, and maybe a board game you all can play to avoid the boredom & frustration generated by what’s happening on the TV screen. — Taylor Kothe
Score more points
Same keys, different game. Score more points than the opponent this week. This strategy is undefeated and would be extra effective against a Chargers team who were embarrassed by the Texans. — Scotty Payne
Can the QB do enough to punish LA?
The Brandon Staley defense is built like Vic Fangio’s and typically plays with light boxes so they can devote additional resources to the pass defense. That may not be the case this week after Pat Shurmur showed that changing the QB did not solve the Broncos’ issues throwing the ball, despite Las Vegas being down three members of its secondary. That may bait the Bolts into stacking the box and daring the QB to beat them. If it doesn’t, the middle of the Chargers’ defense is so talent poor that Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon should find room to run. — Joe Rowles
Offense has to be better
Same key, different game. The offense has to be better. I don’t believe that’s even close to possible at this point. — Adam Malnati