Denver Broncos (9-2 SU, 6-5 ATS) vs. San Diego Chargers (3-8 SU, 4-7 ATS)

NFL Week 13

Date/Time: Sunday, December 6, 2015 at 4:05PM EST

Where: Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California


by Scott, NFL Handicapper,

Point Spread: DEN -4.5/SD +4.5

Over/Under Total: 43

In AFC West action, the Denver Broncos come to Qualcomm Stadium to face the San Diego Chargers on Sunday. Theres not much to say about the San Diego season other than its been a bad one. After 6 straight defeats, they were able to go into Jacksonville and win, 31-25, on Sunday. Denver scored an even better win, besting New England in overtime on Sunday Night, 30-24, lending credibility to the team and becoming the first ones to beat the Patriots this season. Denver can now move ahead at 9-2 knowing they are still a force, even without Peyton Manning behind center.

As long as San Diego has Philip Rivers, you can never completely count them out. You put Philip Rivers around a bunch of random guys and hell probably still move the ball. The problem is thats what its been like that at times for the Chargers this season, as theyve dealt with an impossible amount of injuries, especially on offense. Despite the issues that came about as a result, Rivers has still played well, with over 3500 yards through the air. It hasnt manifested into wins, but he has played well considering the fact that his offensive line has been in shambles, with key losses among the skill players forcing Rivers to now be working with his 4th and 5th options as main weapons. They have Antonio Gates, who can still deliver, with the main wide receivers being Dontrelle Inman and veteran Stevie Johnson, while Danny Woodhead is still making plays. Unfortunately, the Chargers are in week 13 and still dont know what they have with rookie running back Melvin Gordon, who has labored behind a line that cant open holes consistently.

One has to feel for Rivers and the predicament he finds himself inon a team going nowhere with a lame-duck coach and a roster bereft of talent in key areas. Through that, he still manages to stand out as one of the best quarterbacks in the leaguea true testament to his skill and willpower. In beating an up-and-coming Jacksonville team on Sunday, the Chargers showed there is still some fight in their bodies and as long as Rivers is out there slinging it, they have a chance to make things happen.

Another thing saddling Rivers and the entire San Diego effort is a defense that is largely ineffectual. They are not stingy in the least, giving up the second-most points in the league. Making it worse is the fact that when the team needs a positive development from this group, they almost never get it. To be fair, theyve dealt with their share of injuries, which has hurt the continuity of the unit, but a lot of talented youngsters havent exactly been delivering on their promise, either.

The Chargers win on Sunday shows they are not dead yet and if they can get in the right spots, they will represent a high-value selection on occasion, as they were on Sunday. After being on the mat, they climbed up and registered a nice victory. Maybe the pressure of being projected to go far this season was too much. Well, the pressure is off now and maybe a looser Chargers team can make some things happen.

But the division kingpin Denver Broncos are coming into town, riding the crest of a wave from their huge Sunday night win over the Pats. With Brock Osweiler in there starting, the Broncos have won two in a row. Osweiler showed a good temperament on Sunday, along with the more technical elements you look for when evaluating quarterbacks. His performance and clutch play was key in the Broncos scoring the come-from-behind win. It was important for the Broncos to see that they are indeed very viable even without Peyton Manning.

Denver enjoyed a fine performance from running back CJ Anderson, who ran in a 48-yard touchdown run in overtime to notch the win. He was over 100 yards, while Ronnie Hillman also added some nice production. With the Denver aerial attack a mere shadow of what it once was, that run-game is going to be key and Sunday was a good sign. This is a team in a rare position of being expected to contend, despite being in what amounts to a transition year. The entire approach of this team has been revamped in head coach Gary Kubiaks first season.

Key among the changes is a now-dominant defense, the top-ranked unit in the league. They can get it done against both the run and the pass and they did a good job on Sunday against New England, the top-scoring offense in football. On Sunday, we saw this unit make plays, with Von Miller personally preventing New England from getting anything going in overtime, as he took over. This D can make plays and have already picked off opposing quarterbacks 18 times this season. They usually have a very impactful role in a game and will really test the Chargers on Sunday, especially with that Swiss cheese SD offensive line.

It seems bizarre to think of Denver as a defense-heavy team all of a sudden after seeing the high-wire act for the last several years. It looked to be working early in the season as they got out to a 7-0 start, but two straight losses and even a pedestrian 17-15 win over the Bears had people rethinking Denvers chances, especially as it became clear that there was a problem with Manning. But after beating New England, they showed that they are a lot like their AFC rivala team that is able to overcome issues that would cripple most teams, while continuing to thrive. I see them getting the job done this week in San Diego.

Scott’s Pick to Cover the Point Spread: Im betting on the Denver Broncos minus 4.5 points.

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