Bolt Beat Week 8 staff picks: Chargers vs. Broncos
By Travis Wakeman
Can the San Diego Chargers sweep the Denver Broncos for the first time since 2010? That’s what the team will look to do Sunday as it travels to Sports Authority Field to meet the Denver Broncos for the second time in 17 days.
For the Chargers, tight end Hunter Henry and wide receiver Travis Benjamin will both play while Denver Pro Bowl cornerback Aqib Talib will miss the game.
What do the writers of Bolt Beat think of San Diego’s chances to get two in a row from Denver? We posed that question to the rest of the staff and below are their predictions. Each writer’s win-loss record for the season is in parenthesis.
Sean Begler (4-3): “The last time the Chargers won in Denver was 2013 when the Chargers were fighting to keep their playoff hopes alive. Déjà vu anyone? The Broncos are a run heavy team; call it scheme or inability of the quarterback, maybe both. Running back CJ Anderson will be out against the Chargers placing rookie Devontae Booker as their main weapon. On Booker’s first NFL carry he fumbled. The jitters were with him then, and they should reemerge facing a solid Chargers front seven. Broncos will have to turn to quarterback Trevor Siemian to bail them out. That alone could spell disaster for the Broncos. Philip Rivers has said Denver is his favorite place to play. He hasn’t been able to escape there with a win in the last few years. That changes Sunday. Chargers win 27-17.”
Louis Gorini (5-2): “Chargers fans and players are excited and they should be. The team has played well all year and it looks like they are starting to finally put it all together. However, its hard to sweep any team in the NFL, nonetheless the Denver Broncos at home. The Broncos will be without their bell cow running back but will have their head coach back for this game. Kubiak’s system does a great job at helping the running back succeed. I don’t feel like there will be that much of a drop off from Anderson to the incumbent Booker. Chargers will struggle to keep Rivers upright and will ultimately succumb to Denver’s defense. Chargers 16 Broncos 23”.
Derek Anselmo (2-2): “I am going with the momentum here and taking the Chargers. I think the Chargers front 7 is gaining steam by the week, and will put enough pressure on Siemian to fluster him. Look for the Chargers to establish the run on a defense struggling stopping the run, and score in the red zone this time around. Chargers-28, Broncos- 24″
Bill Burgin (3-1): “This is a huge game for the Chargers, an in-division game has major implications. The Chargers are riding high on their two-game win streak, and will extend that to three games. Bosa, and the pass rush will compensate for the thin secondary, while Rivers will continue to show he is a top-tier quarterback. 27-20 Chargers.”
Matt Pagels (5-2): “The Chargers came away with a huge win on the road against what was the No. 1 ranked offense in the Falcons last week. They took down the Broncos and their elite defense two Sunday’s ago in their own home, but now head to Denver for the series finale. The momentum is there, and I believe the team has finally moved past those late meltdowns. This is a divisional game they can’t lose, especially with the way the rest of the AFC West is playing. Three wins in a row for the Chargers.”
Travis Wakeman (3-4): “I’ve bet against the Chargers in both of the last two weeks and they’ve pulled off tremendous victories. You’d think there’s no way I’d pick against them again, right? But I am. I do think the Chargers are much better than their 3-4 record. However, winning in Denver is no easy task for any team and the Broncos will be looking to redeem themselves after a tough loss just two weeks ago. I think it will be close, but Denver pulls it out in the end. Broncos 23, Chargers 17″.
What do you guys think? Who has it right? Who has it wrong? Let us know in the comments section below.