BRONCOS (4-1) AT CHARGERS (1-4), 8:25 p.m.
TV: Ch. 2, NFL; Radio: WCBS (880)
Broncos by 3; O/U: 45
Two weeks ago, breaking down this AFC West matchup wouldn’t have taken much thought. But now, with the Broncos dealing with a quarterback injury and their head coach missing the game after a health scare, there’s more to think about.
Quarterback Trevor Siemian is expected to start after missing last week’s loss to the Falcons because of a (non-throwing) shoulder injury. That’s a big boost for Denver’s offense, which looked lost with rookie Paxton Lynch. The Chargers are allowing more than 290 yards passing per game and 28.4 points, so Siemian should pick up where he left off: five touchdowns in six quarters on the road.
Special teams coach Joe DeCamillis will fill in for Gary Kubiak. With a disciplined team such as Denver, that shouldn’t be an issue. Unless, of course, DeCamillis wants to punt on third down.
San Diego fans probably want to punt on this season, but the 1-4 Chargers easily could be 5-0. They blew a 21-point lead Week 1 at Kansas City, and gave away wins in the final minutes to the Colts and Saints. Last week, with a chance to tie it late at Oakland, they botched the field-goal snap.
The Chargers are averaging 30.4 points and 373 yards. But here’s the thing: They’ve done most of it against the Raiders, Saints and Colts, who are 1-2-3 in yards allowed. Those teams also yield 27.4, 32.5 and 29.6 points per game, respectively. The Broncos allow 301 yards and 17.4 points. Big difference. Denver cornerbacks Chris Harris Jr. and Aqib Talib will pick on Philip Rivers, who doesn’t have his top receiver.
The Chargers’ season has been like a bad game of Madden that you just hit the restart button on. Now they get the defending Super Bowl champs off a loss. Speaking of Madden, have you seen that hilarious commercial with Von Miller parodying Justin Bieber? “Is it too late now to say sorry?” could be the soundtrack for the Chargers’ late-game woes.
This time they won’t have a fourth-quarter lead, so lay the points and do your best Miller dance impersonation after Denver wins a 20-13 type of game.
The pick: Broncos
Bob Glauber: Broncos
Tom Rock: Chargers
Kimberley A. Martin: Chargers