Kickoff Sunday, Dec 10th 4:25pm Eastern

Broncos (
21) at

Chargers (

Over/Under 45.0


Key Matchups
Broncos Run D
30th DVOA/32nd Yards allowed per carry
Chargers Run O
28th DVOA/28th Yards per carry
Broncos Pass D
26th DVOA/20th Yards allowed per pass
Chargers Pass O
16th DVOA/21st Yards per pass
Chargers Run D
22nd DVOA/12th Yards allowed per carry
Broncos Run O
14th DVOA/18th Yards per carry
Chargers Pass D
30th DVOA/28th Yards allowed per pass
Broncos Pass O
18th DVOA/25th Yards per pass

Game Overview ::

By mike johnson >>
  • Both of these teams are theoretically still alive for the playoffs but have extremely little margin for error.
  • The Chargers have managed to score 16 combined points in their last two games.
  • The Broncos have held seven consecutive opponents to 22 points or less.
  • Denver’s offense continues to attack in a conservative manner and use Russell Wilson in a “game manager” role.
  • Los Angeles hopes to get wide receiver Joshua Palmer back from injury, which would be a big boost for an offense that is struggling to make plays.

How denver Will Try To Win ::

The Broncos have had a bit of a roller coaster season but they are in the thick of the AFC playoff hunt with a 6-6 record and all three of the current Wild Card teams being only one game ahead of them and also playing with a backup QB. While many wrote off the Broncos early in the season (and it was hard not to after they gave up 70 points to the Dolphins), Sean Payton has done a nice job making this a consistently competitive squad that is far from an easy out on a weekly basis. This transformation has been largely due to a defense that has significantly improved after a sluggish, injury-riddled start to the year and an offense that has taken Russell Wilson back to his early career “game manager” role that he had success with in Seattle.

Denver’s offense ranks 29th in pace of play and 32nd (aka, dead last) in plays per game as their approach has been very methodical all year. There were a couple of games where they played faster, but those games were generally very inefficient showings thus the resulting poor rankings in those two categories. As we have explored in prior weeks, the Broncos offense is generally very conservative and dedicates a huge portion of their offensive usage to their backfield. They rank 27th in pass rate over expectation (PROE) and 22nd in overall pass rate through 13 weeks, while Russell Wilson ranks near the bottom of the league in average intended air yards on pass attempts. Denver is a team that runs the ball often and likes to target the short area on check- downs and designed screens or swing passes often as an “extension of the running game.” They do take some calculated shots, as both of their Week 13 touchdowns came from shot plays downfield that were set up by play-action. Again, this is reminiscent of what we saw from Russell Wilson in his Seattle days as they tried to win behind their defense and running game, then leveraged that to give Wilson clean pockets to cut loose downfield.

This week Denver faces a Chargers defense that has had its share of issues this season but has been very good against conservative and lower scoring units. After a rough start to the year, Los Angeles has allowed over 23 points only twice (31 to the Chiefs and 41 to the Lions) in their last nine games. Those teams obviously have much more aggressive and explosive offenses than the Broncos, who have a pretty clear approach to winning games right now and there is no reason to expect a drastic change this week. Denver is relying on their defense to create turnovers and short fields and letting their opponents beat themselves, a strategy that seems to be perfect for an opponent like the Chargers who have found exciting new ways to lose games on several occasions this year.

How los Angeles Will Try To Win ::

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