Chargers Vs Broncos: Three Key Matchups To Watch For In Week 14

The Chargers face off against an AFC West foe. Can they start a winning streak?

The Los Angeles Chargers won a messy game on Sunday against the Patriots. But I guess a win is a win right? No matter how ugly? This Sunday, Chargers vs Broncos will feature better weather conditions, but a tougher opponent. It’s going to be a challenge for the Chargers to keep up. Here are some matchups to watch for in Chargers vs Broncos:

Related: Los Angeles Chargers Coach Suggests Austin Ekeler’s Playing Time Could Be Reduced In Week 14

3 Matchups to Watch In Chargers Vs Broncos

1. Chargers Special Teams vs Broncos Special Teams

The Chargers special teams unit was on point against the Patriots, especially punter JK Scott who was just named the AFC Special Teams Player of the Week. According to the Chargers Communication Team, “Of his eight punts on the day, Scott registered a career-high and single-game franchise-record seven punts inside the 20, the most by any player in a single NFL game since 2019.“

Giving the Broncos lousy field position will be key, considering their return specialist, wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr. is a speedster, with the fourth fastest time, tied with Bryce Ford-Wheaton, of all wide receivers during the combine (4.38). Mim’s longest punt return of the season was for 45 yards during Week 2, and though he hasn’t hit that number since, I’m afraid to see what may happen if the Chargers miss some tackles.

Scott’s role will be crucial this next game, in addition to the rest of the players in the unit performing well.

Sometimes special teams save the game. During Week 6 last year, cornerback Ja’Sir Taylor forced Denver’s blocker into their return specialist, causing a muffed punt which cornerback Deane Leonard recovered. All of this happened during overtime, helping the Chargers get in field goal range. The right moves on special teams can make all the difference. 

NFL: Cleveland Browns at Denver Broncos
Chargers vs Broncos: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

2. Chargers Run Defense vs Javonte Williams, Jaleel McLaughlin, and Russell Wilson

The Broncos have been steady in regards to the run with some decent running backs on their team, including Javonte Williams and rookie Jaleel McLaughlin, as well as a running quarterback in Russell Wilson. Williams has the most receiving yards of the team (584) in addition to two receiving touchdowns and 29 receptions on the season. Wilson has the second most rushing yards of the team at 307, 20 more than McLaughlin. The Chargers defense will need to be on the lookout to stop a scrambling quarterback and runaway running backs.

When it comes to run defense, the Chargers have been decent, but missed tackles still plague this team. In particular cornerback Asante Samuel Jr., linebacker Kenneth Murray Jr., and safety Alohi Gilman, all have double digits in missed tackles and have been struggling a bit to stop the run. I’m not worried about the pass rush, as there was another multi-sack game on Sunday. It’s just making sure no one is escaping the backfield because the Chargers tend not to do well if that happens.

NFL: Los Angeles Chargers at New England Patriots
Chargers vs Broncos: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

3. Justin Herbert vs Zach Allen, Justin Simmons, and Pat Surtain II

Herbert was not sacked this past game but may not be so lucky this week, considering he’s against edge defender Zach Allen, who’s on pace to exceed his career-high sack total (six). He’s also had more than 30 solo tackles this season. Safety Justin Simmons is equally deadly with multiple interceptions on the year. Though Herbert also didn’t have any interceptions last game, he threw for fewer yards than he did the week before. So he’ll really have to watch out for these two, along with cornerback Patrick Surtain II, if he wants to have any chance of getting this offense going.

NFL: Denver Broncos at Los Angeles Chargers
Chargers vs Broncos: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports