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Broncos vs Chargers preview: Denver looks to start another winning streak

After the five-game wining streak ended in Houston, Denver will look to get back on track on Sunday in LA.

Denver Broncos v Houston Texans Photo by Sam Hodde/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos tasted defeat for the first time in over a month.

The goal now is to ensure the Broncos don’t stack losses on each other. Since Denver is 6-6, it doesn’t have much room for error left if it wants to get into the AFC playoffs.

Up next is the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday in LA. A Broncos win would go a long way in righting the ship for the remainder of the season.

DraftKings Sportsbook doesn’t think Denver will get it done. The Broncos are a slight underdog to Justin Herbert and LA. The total sits at 44. The under hit once again last Sunday and is likely the safe play again this week.

Offensive Rankings

Denver: Twenty-fourth in overall offense (299.0 yards per game), tied for 12th in rushing offense (115.8 YPG), 26th in passing offense (183.3 YPG), tied for 15th in scoring offense (21.9 points per game).

LA Chargers: Fifteenth in overall offense (338.6 yards per game), 25th in rushing offense (97.7 YPG), 11th in passing offense (240.9 YPG), tied for 11th in scoring offense (22.9 points per game).

Defensive Rankings

Denver: Thirty-first in total defense (385.3 yards per game), 32nd in rushing defense (149.7 YPG), 24th in passing defense (235.6 YPG), 29th in scoring defense (25.2 points per game).

LA Chargers: Twenty-ninth in total defense (349.5 yards per game), 17th in rushing defense (113.8 YPG), 31st in passing defense (265.8 YPG), 19th in scoring defense (21.5 points per game).

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

Broncos offense must convert

Whether on third down or in the red zone, Russell Wilson and the Denver offense must convert their opportunities against the Chargers. Against the Houston Texans, the Broncos were 0-for-11 on third down and 1 of 3 in the red zone. That cannot happen again on Sunday. Denver needs to that third-down conversion rate close to 50%, and score touchdowns in the red zone. — Ian St. Clair

Wilson needs to be more than a game manager

The highly paid QB has thrown for under 200 yards in 7 of the past 8 games. It was manageable during the win streak, but defenses are becoming privy to the reliance on the run game. Payton may not feel comfortable loosening the leash, and Russ certainly isn’t the version of himself he was in Seattle, but playoff teams have QBs who win them games. Wilson will have to get closer to being that guy. — Nick Burch

Limit the stupid mistakes

The Los Angeles Chargers have had the type of season that many people in the NFL world are shocked by, but truthfully, this is the team they are. Chargers gonna Charger. That being said, the Broncos will have a tough game on their hands. So limit the stupid mistakes. I’m not someone who believes the Alex Singleton penalty was horrible, but he got bated into a penalty that cost the team. Penalties are drive savers for opposing offenses and killers for the Broncos offense. Don’t allow those mistakes to cost the team. — Adam Malnati

See Jerry Jeudy wide open for TDs

This has been a common theme for anyone watching film on this offense. Russell Wilson doesn’t see the wide open easy play a lot of the times and none was bigger or more egregious than that fourth down conversion against Houston. While Wilson scrambled for the first down, he missed Jerry Jeudy so wide open it couldn’t have gone anyway other than a drop (it is Jeudy after all) or a walk-in touchdown.

Head Coach Sean Payton was asked about this play after the game and said, “We want to get his hands on the ball. That was a play, though, where they dropped coverage, and he very easily was a viable target for a big play.”

This team has too narrow of a margin for error that Wilson can’t afford to miss these types of big plays and they seem to happen a few times a game. I’d like to see him work on that more, especially since Jeudy is on my fantasy team. — Tim Lynch

What are your keys to Sunday’s game?