NFL 2019 (Week 5): Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers
By Pete Fasulo
Special to Pro Football Guru
This Week 5 contest finds a rejuvenated Chargers’ squad (after last week’s 30-10 drubbing of Miami) looking to keep their winning ways going versus a Denver team that dropped to 0-4 after a late 26-24 home loss to the Jaguars.
Broncos: Quarterback Joe Flacco has not played bad for his new team. He’s completed 66.2 percent of his passes, throwing five touchdown passes and three interceptions. Running backs Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman lead a pretty good running game, totaling a combined 401 rushing yards in the Broncos’ first four games this season. Courtland Sutton and Emmanuel Sanders have done decent jobs as well. So why have the Broncos gone winless if they’re getting all these pretty good results from their skill positions? The issue lies with an offensive line that has given up 11 sacks thus far this season. In addition, Denver has only converted 39.6 percent of their third downs attempts. This has led to them scoring only 17.5 points per game. On defense, the Broncos are yielding just over 23 points per game thus far this season. The run defense has been very weak, as they are giving up 149.3 rushing yards per game this season.
Chargers: Look for quarterback Philip Rivers to pick apart a weak Denver secondary. With wide receiver Mike Williams still sidelined, expect Keenan Allen to get the bulk of the targets. The Chargers’ running back tandem of Melvin Gordon and Austin Ekeler should see plenty of running room as the Chargers’ Mike Pouncey-led offensive line will have little issue opening holes versus a Denver defense that is missing Bradley Chubb. While the Bolts’ offensive line has continued to give up sacks in bunches, facing the Chubb-less Broncos may help them start to fix those issues. And tackle Russell Okung’s expected return in a few weeks won’t hurt either. Head coach Anthony Lynn, offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt and defensive coordinator Gus Bradley have some work to do. The Bolts’ defense, led by Joey Bosa, Melvin Ingram and company, have been inconsistent to date. The club has allowed 10 offensive touchdown – eight through the air.
Prediction: The thus-far underachieving Chargers look to move to 3-2 and can be expected to put up some big offensive numbers again this week. Look for Rivers to pick apart a weak Denver secondary and put up a good amount of points. Expect the Broncos to stay fairly close early on, as they’ve been pretty good at moving the ball this year. Yet, the Chargers are clearly the stronger team and will prove that this week.
Los Angeles Chargers 31, Denver Broncos 17
Pete Fasulo (@LISportsFans) is a freelance writer covering business, music, and sports. He has written for music publications such as Revolver and Aural Fix. His sports writing career has been resurrected here after numerous years at The Torch and The Long Island Tribune (many moons ago).