The Chargers have laid big eggs the last two weeks in games they really could have won, and after a three-point loss to the Raiders on Sunday they are back in action Thursday against another AFC West rival, the Denver Broncos.
If San Diego is going to get back in the race in any fashion in the division, they need to get a big home win over one team that showed some cracks last week in Denver.
Here’s three keys to a Chargers win on Thursday, and our pick of how it will go down below.
The Chargers have eight lost fumbles on the season, and right now this team isn’t good enough to be giving up the football on a weekly basis like they have. If they are going to overcome what is still a very good Broncos defense. Philip Rivers also has to be careful with throwing the ball downfield, as the Broncos defense isn’t afraid to go ball hawking. A minus two or more in the this game and they will be on the losing end.
2. Keep Rivers Upright
The Denver defensive unit has sacked opposing quarterbacks 19 times this season, and if the Chargers are going to win, they have to give the Chargers QB time to throw without having Von Miller and the Denver D in his face all night. The Chargers’ offensive line, which could be without starting right tackle Joe Barksdale again this week due to a foot injury, has given up only 11 sacks, which is a good sign, but Thursday isn’t a good time to not have a good night when it comes to giving up sacks.
3. Spread the Ball Around
Last week Atlanta used a variety of screens and their running backs as wide outs to spread the field, if the Chargers want to win, they should take a page from the Falcons book. While Danny Woodhead would be excellent in a game plan like this, look for Melvin Gordon to get a chance to catch a couple passes, and for Rivers to use check downs if the pressure starts to get to him. Getting rid of the ball is as important as ever against the Denver D.
Prediction: The Chargers have lost four of five, and this game is really going to be what team makes the less mistakes. I like the Chargers in this game from the standpoint of Rivers looking to make plays, but don’t like them from the standpoint of they have turned the ball over too much. If San Diego is going to win, they need to avoid the same mistakes that have plagued them the last two weeks. Won’t happen as they fall to 1-5. Denver 20 San Diego 14