The Denver Broncos will have a chance to sweep the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday, but they will have to do it without Teddy Bridgewater who is still in the concussion protocol and also a slew of other starters who came down with COVID-19 this week.
That has the staff here feeling a bit like a loss is at hand. And a bad loss at that. Collectively, we’re predicting a Chargers 31-13 beatdown of the Broncos.
Although, not all of us were so dire with our predictions this week. Aside from the guys in the Dublin to Denver podcast above, I also predict Denver’s going to come out and win this game. Here is how we predict things will go on an individual basis.
Broncos 27, Chargers 19
There is a lot of negativity this week. Part of it obviously has to do with the large COVID-19 outbreak in the facility that has caused over 12 Broncos’ players to miss this game. Though the Chargers will also be down a large number of players on their end, so this should be pretty close to evening out there.
I think another part of this negative outlook is the lack of faith a lot of the staff here at Mile High Report has in Pat Shurmur as an offensive play caller and also in Drew Lock at this point in his three-year NFL career. While I too don’t believe Lock is the long term answer at quarterback for Denver, I did like his decision-making last week. He was careful with the football, while also took some shots. The points production was lacking, but I think that changes this week. The run game returns and Lock gets this team in position to sweep the Chargers to get back to .500. - Tim Lynch
Chargers 31, Broncos 10
COVID or not, the Broncos aren’t winning this game. The offense is worse than bad, it is predictable. If I see Jerry Jeudy run in motion before a handoff one more ti… never mind. The Broncos have surprised us before, but there is just too much to overcome here. On the MHR Radio podcast I said 20-10 Chargers. I’m revising that. 31-10 Chargers. - Adam Malnati
Chargers 29, Broncos 6
Denver’s already anemic pass rush is gutted. The secondary is suddenly riddled with holes. And the offense is missing critical playmakers and pass protectors. All the Chargers have to do to win is exactly what the Raiders did last week: stack up the box to stop the run and dare Drew Lock, Pat Shurmur, & company to beat them through the air... which they won’t. - Taylor Kothe
Chargers 41, Broncos 10
Even healthy the Broncos would have been in for a rough game. Now adding COVID to the equation just makes it more improbable. Not to mention Denver whipped the Chargers a few weeks ago and they got embarrassed by the Texans. This could get ugly for the Broncos. - Ian St. Clair
Chargers 34, Broncos 10
With a healthy offense outside of center and quarterback, the Broncos averaged four yards a play against a Las Vegas Raiders defense that’s currently ranked 24th in the NFL by Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric. As I write this, we already know Tim Patrick, Jerry Jeudy, Bobby Massie, Calvin Anderson, and Tyrie Cleveland will miss the game after testing positive for Covid-19. We’ve already seen Shurmur completely fail to adjust to life without Jeudy once this year, and now he has to do it with Cam Fleming protecting Drew Lock from Joey Bosa.
If the Broncos’ defense was healthy Fangio would have his work cut out for him against Justin Herbert and Joe Lombardi, but they’ll be tattered as well. Since Von Miller’s injury and subsequent trade, the pass rush has become completely dependent on Fangio’s pressure packages to make quarterbacks uncomfortable. Now they’ll need to heat up Justin Herbert without Bradley Chubb, Jonathon Cooper, and Baron Browning.
The Broncos run game and secondary could do enough to keep the game interesting if Tristan Vizcaino is a liability for the Bolts’ special teams, but I’m taking the Chargers 34-10. - Joe Rowles