LA Chargers News

Predicting the Chargers’ final five games

CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs throws for a touchdown to take a 14-3 lead in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center on September 9, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
CARSON, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: Quarterback Patrick Mahomes #15 of the Kansas City Chiefs throws for a touchdown to take a 14-3 lead in the first quarter against the Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center on September 9, 2018 in Carson, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
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Denver Broncos Running back Phillip Lindsay played a big role in their 23-22 win over the Chargers in week 11. This photo was taken Nov. 18, 2018. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Denver Broncos Running back Phillip Lindsay played a big role in their 23-22 win over the Chargers in week 11. This photo was taken Nov. 18, 2018. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Week 17: @ Denver Broncos, Sunday Dec. 30, 1:25 p.m. PST

By this time in December, the Denver Broncos could be clawing for a playoff spot, and added motivation could be dangerous for a Chargers team that’s already lost to this AFC West rival.

After losing six of their first nine games, Denver has rattled off two straight wins to improve to 5-6 and could be in the thick of the AFC Wild Card race. Their lenient schedule down the stretch opens the doors for a Broncos playoff push. Denver’s four opponents before Week 17 are the Cincinnati Bengals, San Francisco 49ers, Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders.

All four of those games are winnable. And if the Broncos enter their season finale at 9-6 or 8-7, then they will go full throttle in an attempt to enter the postseason. A full-blown effort from Denver could pose great challenges to the Chargers, especially given that the Bolts have already lost to the Broncos in 2018.

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The Vance Joeseph-coached squad took down the Chargers 23-22 in a Week 11 tilt in Southern California. Denver’s offense did not dazzle in this affair, but rookie running back Phillip Lindsay scampered for 79 rushing yards and two scores. Moreover, their defense gave Rivers and the crew fits all afternoon. L.A.’s veteran gunslinger tossed two poor interceptions.

Adding to the Chargers possible struggles is the intense atmosphere of Broncos Stadium at Mile High. Denver’s home-field advantage makes operating an offense tough for any opposing team, so Bolts fans should not expect a high-octane attack from their team in Week 17. The Broncos’ potential playoff push will only entice Denver’s fans to ramp up the noise.

Chalk up a tight loss for the Bolts in this game, which would bring their 2018 regular season record to 10-6.

Prediction: Broncos 21-17

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