Broncos May Need Some More Mile High Magic Against The Chargers

Written By Ian St. Clair on 12/22/2020 - Last Updated on December 29, 2020

There isn’t a lot to look forward to when it comes to the Denver Broncos.

At least for the remainder of the 2020 NFL season.

The Colorado sports betting market is now party to the fourth straight losing season and fifth straight year of no NFL playoffs.

Whether you take a Tigger or Eeyore approach to the future of the Broncos after this season can vary by the second.

You remember that Denver has a lot of injuries to key players and it will get those players back in 2021.

Despite the 48-19 flogging at the hands of Josh Allen and the Buffalo Bills, there is still the steady improvement from the Miami Dolphins win … until last Saturday.

So there is some reason to bounce around on your tail and feel somewhat happy.

You then flip to Eeyore when you realize the Broncos still don’t have an answer at quarterback.

To make matters worse, Denver plays in a division with Patrick Mahomes and rookie Justin Herbert, who appears to have a bright future with the Los Angeles Chargers.

Speaking of Herbert and Los Angeles (5-9), that’s who the Broncos play on Sunday.

So to bring back some of that Tigger positivity, at least we should get a good game in the City of Angels. As the saying goes, “when you get two bad teams together, you usually get a good pillow fight.”

Broncos at Chargers odds

As has been the case all season, Denver is the underdog on Sunday.

For those betting on the Broncos, how they’ve done against the spread this season, last Saturday withstanding, has been another positive.

Denver is 8-6 covering the spread this season.

One of those games was the magical, last-second 31-30 win over the Chargers in Week 8.

The Broncos may need some Mile High Magic again on Sunday to even have a chance.

Broncos secondary faces tough challenge

Why does Denver need some magical fairy dust? The secondary, especially cornerback, is depleted.

The fact Allen and the Bills just torched this Broncos defense doesn’t elicit a ton of confidence.

Now they face a rookie quarterback in Herbert, who is on the brink of breaking the NFL rookie passing touchdown record. He’s currently tied with Cleveland Browns quarterback Baker Mayfield with 27.

In LA’s 30-27 overtime win over the Las Vegas Raiders, Herbert also set the all-time rookie record with his seventh game of 300-plus yards passing. The previous record was set by Andrew Luck in 2012.

That’s not exactly ideal for this Broncos secondary.

So if you’re thinking about putting down a wager on one of the Colorado betting apps for this game, you might want to go with the over.

Pressure Herbert

Aside from finding a way to get Champ Bailey or Louis Wright to suit up, what can Vic Fangio and Denver do?

The Broncos have to get consistent pressure on Herbert.

Whether that comes from the interior of the defensive line, the edge, or blitz packages, Denver must hit, pressure and sack the Chargers quarterback.

The Broncos also have to stop the Los Angeles running game. That’s not something Denver did at all in the first matchup. The Chargers finished with 210 yards rushing, and that was without running back Austin Ekeler.

With Ekeler back in the Chargers’ lineup, that task is now even more difficult. Not to mention what the Eaton product does as a receiver.

How the Broncos pull the upset

For the Broncos to have a chance, Drew Lock and the offense must do their part.

That means it’s vital they play better than they did against Buffalo. In simplistic terms, Lock and Denver must play like they did against the Carolina Panthers.

The Broncos need to move the ball and score touchdowns. They need to keep pace with Herbert and the Chargers.

Another reason for NFL bettors to think about taking the over for Saturday’s game — and not to sound like a broken record, but Denver must win the turnover battle.

The consistent pressure on Herbert should help, but Lock and the Broncos need to protect the ball as well. If Denver gives possessions back to the Chargers, it’s in for a long day.

In the end, a Broncos win doesn’t change much, especially in 2020. But how Lock and Denver look could determine if the offseason is more Tigger or Eeyore.

Photo by AP / Jack Dempsey
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Ian St. Clair

Ian St. Clair is an award-winning sports journalist. He is a University of Northern Colorado graduate, Colorado native and has over a decade of experience covering college and professional athletics. Ian does a weekly Broncos segment each Saturday on Klahr and Kompany on Denver radio station ESPN 1600 AM.

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