Week 8 finds us at Empower Field at Mile High to see the Los Angeles Chargers take on the Denver Broncos. The Broncos (2-4) had their two-game winning streak snapped last week against the Kansas City Chiefs while the Chargers (2-4) are coming in fresh off a 39-29 victory at home over the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Drew Lock made his fourth start of the season last week and threw for a season-high 254 yards and rushed for his first career touchdown. Melvin Gordon had 80 scrimmage yards (68 rushing, 12 receiving) and a touchdown. Phillip Lindsay rushed for a season-high 79 yards before going down with a concussion in the second quarter. Tim Patrick and Jerry Jeudy were relatively quiet, posting 44 yards and 20 yards, respectively. Albert Okwuegbunam set career-highs in catches (seven) and reception yards (60) in Week 7. On the other side of the ball, Malik Reed had two sacks while Bradley Chubb and Dre’Mont Jones chipped in with one sack. Alexander Johnson led the team with nine tackles and had a forced fumble.
The Broncos will need to slow down Justin Herbert if they want to pull off the upset this week. Denver’s defense has been holding their opponents to 298.3 total yards per game over their last three games, which is good for fifth in the NFL. With the offense averaging a fifth-worst 19.3 points per game, they will need to bring that dominant defensive momentum into Week 8. With Lindsay questionable to play (concussion), Gordon is looking at a bell-cow workload. He should total 20-plus touches this week. With Noah Fant getting healthier and Okwuegbunam coming on, Lock has all the weapons he needs to keep the ball moving.
Herbert passed for a career-high 347 yards and three touchdowns versus zero interceptions last week against the Jaguars. He also added a career-high 66 yards on the ground and a rushing touchdown. Justin Jackson had five catches and 55 scrimmage yards (43 receiving, 12 rushing). Rookie Joshua Kelley had a career-high five catches and 53 scrimmage yards (29 rushing, 24 receiving). Keenan Allen led the team with 10 catches for 125 yards, which was his 10th-career game with 10-plus catches and 125 reception yards. On the other side of the ball, the Chargers defense racked up five sacks with Uchenna Nwosu leading the team with 1.5 sacks.
Herbert has thrown 1,542 yards over the first five games of his career, which is second-most in NFL history (Cam Newton – 1,610). He joins Deshaun Watson as the only rookie quarterbacks in NFL history with three-plus touchdowns in three consecutive games. The Chargers have averaged 32.3 points per game over their past three games, which is good for 6th in the NFL. With the offense clicking on all cylinders, Joey Bosa and the rest of the defense will need to step up and shut down the Broncos’ rushing attack if they want to win.
Date: November 1, 2020
Start time: 2:05 P.M. MST
Location: Denver, CO
Stadium: Empower Field at Mile High
TV Info: CBS
Betting Odds Sponsored by Jazz Sportsbook
Points Spread: LAC -3.5 (-110) | DEN +3.5 (-110)
Moneyline: LAC -185 | DEN +150
Over/Under: O 44.5 (-110) | U 44.5 (-110)
The public has been hammering the Chargers ever since the line opened. The Chargers’ point spread jumped from -1 to -3.5. Despite the public jumping on the Chargers, expect the Broncos to slow down Herbert this week. Denver’s recent success on defense along with Herbert’s inexperience playing in high altitude bodes well for the Broncos’ chances at winning this game. Whether the Broncos win or lose, expect them to cover the 3.5-point spread.
Herbert gets his first taste of the mile-high altitude and struggles in the first half. The Broncos hold the Chargers to six points and take a 10-6 lead into halftime. Coming out of the break, Herbert erupts for two consecutive scoring drives to give the Chargers a six-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. Lock takes back the lead by throwing a 30-yard touchdown to Jerry Jeudy. After exchanging touchdowns, Brandon McManus hits a 48-yard field goal to take a four-point lead with a minute left. Herbert leads his team down the field and throws up a hail-mary as time expires, but gets picked off in the end zone.
Final Score: Chargers 23, Broncos 27
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images