What to Expect: Week 8 thoughts and predictions
By Derek Anselmo
Recap: Last Sundays game versus the Falcons was nothing short of amazing. It had everything that Chargers needed to give them the confidence that they could be winners. The offense struggled giving up two turnovers, but would bounce back in a huge way scoring a total of 33 points on the road. The defense struggled in the first half giving up 27 points, but would come back and hold the number one offense to just 3 in the second half. The Chargers were finally on the right side of coming back from a huge deficit. I think this game was a huge confidence builder for the Chargers. They are learning that together they can winners.
On a side note, I actually made the trip to Atlanta this past weekend. The atmosphere was everything I hoped it would be… and there were a decent amount of Chargers fans rooting them on! Can’t dwell on won win to long, no matter how big it was. The Chargers look to sweep the Broncos for the first time since 2010. Here are a few major factors I think the Chargers will have to focus on this coming weekend:
First major factor: Pressure Siemian. The front 7 of the Chargers has a brand new identity, since Bosa has stepped in. They will need to continue putting pressure on the QB this week in Denver. The Broncos putting C.J. Anderson on IR, means that more of the workload will be put on Siemian. The Chargers need to disguise coverage and blitzes to confuse the rookie QB. Let the rookie QB make mistakes, and the Chargers defense needs to capitalize on those mistakes.
Oct 13, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; The San Diego Chargers defense reacts after recovering a fumble by Denver Broncos wide receiver Demaryius Thomas (88) during the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Second major factor: Protect Philip Rivers. This is by far the most important factor this weekend. The Broncos defense feeds off the defense making plays at home. The Chargers can’t afford to have the Broncos gain momentum, and feed off the crowd noise at home. The Broncos defense was quiet for the most part the first time we played them, but with the possibility of Ware coming back.. the Chargers need to be ready. If the Chargers offensive line can limit the hits on Rivers, we have a good shot.
Third major factor: Keep the Melvin Gordon train going. The Broncos rush defense is currently ranked 22nd in the NFL, allowing 117 yards per game. Melvin Gordon ran for 94 yards versus Denver in the first meeting. He will need to have even more success this week. If Gordon can touch the ball 25 times, and finish with around 115-120 rushing yards and a TD, the Chargers are going to win this ball game. Get Melvin going early to keep the Broncos defense honest, and on their toes.
Oct 13, 2016; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (28) runs as he gets a block from San Diego Chargers offensive guard Orlando Franklin (74) on Denver Broncos strong safety T.J. Ward (43) during the first quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
Prediction: It’s hard to beat that Broncos defense once, let alone twice, but I think the Chargers finish the job this weekend. The Chargers need to seize every opportunity in the red zone and make it priority to score first. Even as much as Kubiak believes in Booker to lead the load this weekend, I am not fooled. Anderson was a huge part of this offense, and took a lot of pressure off of Siemian. The Chargers need to play this game with the lead and put the pressure on the rookie QB to make the big plays. I think Gordon finishes with 105 yards on the ground, a TD, and leads the Chargers to victory in Denver. FINAL SCORE: CHARGERS-28, BRONCOS-24.