The Los Angeles Chargers are coming into their matchup against the Broncos on a two-game winning streak and are starting to put it together on the offensive side of the ball. They were barely able to squeak out a win against the Browns last week, but it was a game that they would usually lose so winning it was a welcome sight.
The Chargers will be playing in their second primetime game of the season on Monday night against the Denver Broncos. The Broncos have been struggling this season and are trying to find their rhythm on offense. It has been by far the worst start of Russell Wilson’s career, who has been playing with an injured lat. The Chargers are coming into the game as a fairly heavy favorite but have a few matchups that will determine if they deserve to be favored.
Matchup One: Mike Williams against Patrick Surtain
Mike Williams is coming off one of his better games where he brought down 10 passes for 134 yards. With it trending again that Keenan Allen won’t be playing or will be severely limited, you figure that Williams is going to be the go-to target in this game. The Chargers have featured him more all throughout the field with different routes and positional alignments. They are going to need Williams to have another great game going against one of the game’s best cover corners.
Second-year corner Patrick Surtain is building off his exceptional rookie season and is cementing himself in the conversation of being a top-five corner in the NFL. He is usually shadowing the other team’s best receiver so I see no reason why he wouldn’t be shadowing Williams in this game with Allen out. The Chargers offense has struggled when Williams isn’t a factor during the absence of Allen. If they are going to want to put up points in this game, Williams is going to have to win on a few of his matchups against Surtain.
Matchup Two: Calvin Anderson against Khalil Mack
In the Broncos previous game against the Colts, starting left tackle Garrett Bowles broke his leg and is out for a minimum of six weeks. Bowles was coming off the best season of his career and is a huge loss for the Broncos. Backup Calvin Anderson figures to be the one to replace Bowles for the time being until he returns. He will usually draw the matchup of Chargers star, Khalil Mack.
Mack had an incredible start to the season against the Raiders, and for the most part, has been quiet since then. Much of this is due to Joey Bosa being injured, but Mack has to be better from here on out. He gets a great opportunity for a get-right game going against a backup and a quarterback that likes to hold onto the ball. I see Mack coming down with a sack this game and I think it will come in the 4th quarter.
Matchup Three: Melvin Gordon against Chargers defense
The Chargers defense has had its issues this year. By far the biggest issue is their run defense. They are allowing a league-worst 5.8 yards per carry and are getting gashed with big runs quite often. The Broncos recently lost their starting running back Javonte Williams and are going to be desperate for others to step up. The player that will be getting most of the action is former Charger, Melvin Gordon.
Gordon has had his struggles this year with holding onto the ball. There was a time period where he fumbled the ball five times within a span of 44 carries. While he has his weaknesses, he runs hard and is a threat for a big play. You know he is going to be going all out against his former team this week. The Chargers have actually done relatively well in the run game on a play-by-play basis. The main issue is the few massive runs they have given up that make it look awful. They will win this game if they don’t allow Gordon to break off a big run.
I’m not sure what to think of this game. The Chargers defense has been notorious for making bad quarterbacks look like stars. Wilson has been struggling more than ever and is looking for a get-right game. I think Wilson’s struggles will continue in this game and it’s a game that I see the Chargers winning fairly comfortably.
Final score: Chargers 27 Broncos 14