Denver Broncos vs. Los Angeles Chargers Week 5 Pick
Denver Broncos (0-4 SU, 1-3 ATS) vs. Los Angeles Chargers (2-2 SU, 1-2-1 ATS)
NFL Week 5
Date/Time: Sunday, October 6, 2019 at 4:05PM EDT
Where: Dignity Health Sports Park, Carson, California
Point Spread: DEN +6.5/LAC -6.5 (Intertops)
Over/Under Total: 44
The Denver Broncos take on the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday in AFC West action from Carson. The Chargers stopped the bleeding last Sunday, winning at Miami, 30-10, and covering the spread for the first time this season. It was a routine win and one that was expected against a really down Miami bunch, but after an uneven start to the season, it was a needed development for the team. Denver saw their week end more painfully, falling in the final seconds after building up a lead against the Jaguars. With a chance to score their first win of the season in what could have been a galvanizing win, they melted late, and the Jags nipped them at the wire.
Silver Lining to the 0-4 Start for Denver
At the end of the day, the W-L record speaks volumes, so an 0-4 start stinks at the end of the day for a team looking to turn the page with some player turnover and bringing in a new head coach in Vic Fangio. They’ve been in tough spots, and three of the losses were of the one-score variety, but that lack of late-game gusto is a real killer when looking to cover spreads. But let’s not forget that last season, against a Chargers’ team that ended up going 12-4, this Broncos team came into this stadium and delivered late with a 23-22 win. Denver was able to hang in there, run the ball well, and show some late-clutch on both sides of the ball to get the win.
Granted, they blew it against Jacksonville. Up by 14, the Jags ate away at the lead on the strength of 225 yards rushing from Leonard Fournette and another efficient performance from rookie QB Gardner Minshew. But we saw Denver able to get after the QB. As Von Miller had two sacks with Bradley Chubb, Malik Reed, and DeMarcus Walker, each getting sacks. That’s not much consolation after getting gashed the way they did against the Jacksonville run-game, especially as they’re about to face a Chargers’ running-game that is ready to unleash Melvin Gordon. And in pretty sad news, an injury to Chubb means he will be lost for the season—a bad blow to this defense. But they can still get after the quarterback, and with Chris Harris, Kareem Jackson (questionable), Justin Simmons, and Will Parks, opposing quarterbacks haven’t been able to feast, and that can go a long way against Philip Rivers and his varied aerial attack.
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Chargers Starting to Roll?
If every time a team beats Miami, they’re suddenly “on the right track,” that’s going to result in a lot of misled people this season. But the Chargers maybe needed to air things out a little, as this season hasn’t started according to plan. A lot of what plagued this team for decades resurfaced early this season, with imminently-winnable games, were flushed down the toilet. Even on the role of big road-favorite, the Chargers thrived in Miami. The first half was tough, with the Bolts only getting the lead late in the first half. By the end of the day, Rivers was over 300 yards, having connected with Dontrelle Inman, Keenan Allen, and newly-utilized Lance Kendricks at tight end. Austin Ekeler, the lead back while Gordon has been out, caught a TD pass and has been a fruitful receiver in this offense. But it had started to show that Gordon was missing, as he is a key part of this machine. And with him playing this weekend, we could begin to see better results.
Holding the dysfunctional ‘Fins to 10 points is nice, but no cause for celebration. Early, with Miami getting out to a lead, it wasn’t a good look for a Chargers’ team dealing with some issues on that side of the ball. Seeing Melvin Ingram go down with a hamstring only exacerbates things. Already missing guys like Derwin James has taken its toll, and a missing or compromised Ingram is a concern. They did some nice things against Miami. CB Michael Williams had a pick, while CB Desmond King had 2.5 in a weird statistical anomaly. Joey Bosa and Isaac Rochel also got to the quarterback. But until they perform more consistently, a wait-and-see approach is needed with this defense. For what it’s worth, they only allowed 32 total points in two games with Denver last season, though it’s hard to forget them melting late against Denver at home in another sure win they coughed up.
A Crease for the Denver Offense?
It didn’t manifest last week on either side of the ball really, with the Chargers’ defense holding Miami to ten points, while Denver’s offense managed 24 points. But there’s a reason to forecast greater success for Denver on this side of the ball in this game. QB Joe Flacco can air it out on occasion and had 303 yards and three TDs on Sunday. Combine that with a Chargers’ secondary that is suffering without a few key guys, and it’s not hard to envision some big things. A nice little receiver package is forming with Denver, as Emmanuel Sanders had a big game on Sunday, with Courtland Suton and DaeSean Hamilton also having production. We saw a glimpse of what rookie first-round tight end Noah Fant can do, as he had a TD catch on Sunday. He could be a real monster. The 1-2 running back punch of Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman hasn’t materialized much this season, as they look to make a bigger impact moving forward.
Take the Road Dog
This seems like an OK spot timing-wise to catch the Chargers on the upswing. They got the record back at 2-2 and can get the business of putting their case as a contender together. After all, an 0-4 team is coming to town, and it can look like it adds up to a sweeping success for the Chargers. But I think Denver’s defense still matches up decently with the Chargers, with the Bolts’ defense being compromised just enough to let the Denver offense do their thing a little bit. These divisional tussles have a knack for being competitive, and I see that kind of game on Sunday.
Loot’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: I’m betting on the Denver Broncos plus 6.5 points.
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