Week 16 Preview: Denver Broncos vs. Los Angeles Chargersby Jacob Dunne December 25, 2020 0 comments
Week 16 takes us to SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles to see the Denver Broncos take on the Los Angeles Chargers. The Chargers (5-9) are coming off a thrilling overtime 30-27 win against the Las Vegas Raiders while the Broncos (5-9) had their worst loss of the season, losing to the Buffalo Bills 48-19.
For the second week in a row, Drew Lock did not throw an interception last Sunday. He completed 62.5 percent of his passes for 132 yards and a touchdown. Even though Lock had an efficient game, the Broncos needed a lot more from him. Melvin Gordon did his part on offense by racking up 81 scrimmage yards and two scores. Noah Fant had a career-high eight catches for 68 yards and caught Lock’s lone touchdown. On the other side of the ball, Jeremiah Attaochu recorded the Broncos’ only sack of the game along with a forced fumble.
If the Broncos want to pull off the upset in Los Angeles, Lock will need to go shot-for-shot with Chargers rookie sensation Justin Herbert. The last time these two teams met, Lock threw for 248 yards and three touchdowns on his way to a comeback victory. With Gordon leading the backfield with 104.7 scrimmage yards over the past three games, the running game should set up success for the passing game. Expect Fant to build on his impressive Week 14 performance against a Chargers defense that just allowed Darren Waller to rack up 150 yards and a trip to the end zone.
Herbert continued his Rookie of the Year bid last week by completing 22-of-32 passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns. It was his seventh game with 300-plus passing yards, which is the most by any rookie in NFL history. Herbert ended the night with a 121.1 quarterback rating and also added a rushing score. Austin Ekeler had 79 scrimmage yards (60 rushing, 19 receiving) and Kalen Ballage added a touchdown on the ground. Hunter Henry, Jalen Guyton, and Tyron Johnson combined for 217 receiving yards and two touchdowns. On the other side of the ball, Chris Harris Jr. had his first interception of the season and Nick Vigil recorded the Chargers’ only sack of the game.
If the Chargers want to hold off the Broncos at home, Herbert will need to continue carrying this Chargers offense. A hamstring injury hampered Keenan Allen last week, but Herbert overcame the absence of his star receiver and led his team to victory. This week, he will likely be without Henry, who was placed on the COVID-19 reserve list and is expected to be unavailable for the game. If Allen comes back healthy in Week 16, the Broncos will have a tough time covering he and Mike Williams without A.J. Bouye and Bryce Callahan. If Ekeler can get the running game going, Hebert should have no problem scoring on a depleted Broncos defense.
Date: December 27, 2020
Start time: 1:05 P.M. PST
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Stadium: SoFi Stadium
TV Info: CBS
Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook
Point Spread: DEN +3 (-110) | LAC -3 (-110)
Moneyline: DEN -185 | LAC +150
Over/Under: O 49 (-110) | U 49 (-110)
The public has been favoring the Chargers and Under ever since the line opened earlier this week. The Chargers started out as 2.5-point favorites, while the over/under started out at 50. Expect Herbert to come out firing this week after losing to the Broncos back in Week 8. The Broncos have enough offensive firepower with Gordon, Fant, and Jerry Jeudy to match the Chargers score-for-score, but expect this game to stay under 49 points.
The Broncos answer an early short touchdown strike from Herbert with a 75-yard drive of their own that ends with a three-yard rushing score by Gordon. Michael Badgley hits two field goals before Brandon McManus hits a 46-yard field goal before halftime. Coming out of the break, Lock finds four different receivers on his way to taking the lead with a 20-yard post route to Fant. Ekeler takes a screen pass 42 yards before Herbert finds Allen on a 33-yard go route to take a 20-17 lead. Lock leads the Broncos to the Chargers’ 31 yard line, setting up McManus for a game-tying 48-yard field goal, but the Broncos’ kicker hooks it left as time expires.
Final Score: Broncos 17, Chargers 20