Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos Pick for 9-11-17
For the first time in decades, the Los Angeles Chargers will hit the field on Monday night in a regular season NFL contest. The ex-San Diego squad still consists of most of the names we came to know during their time 90 miles south of L.A., but now they’re battling with the Rams for Los Angeles supremacy.
They’ll make headlines if they can pick up an upset win in their first game on Monday night against the rival Denver Broncos.
The Broncos finished 9-7 last year in the first post-Peyton Manning season, but there was still much to be desired considering Denver was defending a Super Bowl title.
Paxton Lynch is still waiting in the wings, but in the meantime, the Broncos will roll Trevor Siemian back out there as the starting quarterback for the opener. The 25-year-old was a mixed bag in his first season as a starter.
In 14 games, Siemian completed 59.5 percent of his throws for 3,401 yards with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
Obviously, he’s more of a game manager than a game breaker. Denver has plenty of skill position weapons, but Siemian isn’t a guy that is going to bomb an opposing defense over the top by chucking it deep.
This is a rivalry that has been unsurprisingly dominated by Denver in recent years. The Broncos are 10-2 against the Chargers since 2011. However, the Chargers did pick up a win in a Thursday night game against these Broncos last season after Siemian was rushed back early from an injury.
As mentioned previously, the Chargers’ attack consists largely of familiar names. Philip Rivers is still the quarterback, Antonio Gates is still the tight end and Keenan Allen is still the top wideout.
After a super underwhelming rookie campaign, Melvin Gordon quietly had a very solid sophomore season last year.
In 13 games, the former Wisconsin Badger rushed for 997 yards with 10 touchdowns.
The Chargers are underdogs going into the Mile High City at +140 on the moneyline. That said, the Broncos are only favored by three points, which indicates that Vegas isn’t all that confident in what Denver has going on heading into the new season.
The key to success for L.A. will be whether the offensive line can protect Rivers against a potentially terrorizing Broncos front-seven. Rivers has a way of faltering under pressure, and the Chargers’ offensive line has been woeful over the last couple of seasons.
We don’t really like either of these offenses, and the Denver defense may well be one of the most dynamic in football again this season.
Vegas tabbed this game with an over/under of 43 points, which is one of the lowest implied totals of Week 1.
Even so, it’s hard to imagine either of these teams lighting up the scoreboard.
Rivers has the kind of mettle to go into a hostile environment like Denver and silence the crowd. If the Chargers’ defense can come up with a big play or two at Siemian’s expense, we like them as a sneaky underdog play.