As the Los Angeles Chargers get set for kickoff against the Denver Broncos on Monday Night Football, there’s plenty of reasons to be optimistic. However, there are also some causes for concern. While all of us in Chargers Nation are confident, the Broncos are quite formidable. With the game moments away, let’s take a look at why our beloved Bolts will win and why they might will lose.
Why the Chargers Will Win
1.) The Denver Broncos are led by Trevor Siemian, and the Los Angeles Chargers are led by Philip Rivers. With all due respect, advantage Bolts. Rivers will be loaded with motivation, as well as weapons. Rivers would love nothing more than to set a new franchise record by racking up his 52nd 300-yard passing of his career. Tight end Antonio Gates is also looking to to make history with a record of his own. Gates’ next touchdown catch will make him the all-time leader in career touchdowns by a tight end. Keenan Allen returns from an ACL injury and will be ready to roll. The Bolts look to be electric in their 2017 season debut. If they can be, Denver may be in for a long night at home.
2.) Denver’s defense still has more talent than just about any other unit in the NFL, but they no longer have the services of one of the best defensive coordinators in NFL history. Wade Phillips is now coordinating the defense for the Los Angeles Rams. Joe Woods should eventually prove himself to be a capable coordinator. However, it will be a tall order for him to fill Phillips’ shoes in any meaningful way this season. Almost certainly, he will not do it in week 1. With the Chargers offense having shown signs of being explosive this preseason, look for them to exploit any growing pains that the Denver defense may experience.
3.) The Chargers, when healthy, have one of the best pass rushing duos and starting cornerback duos in the NFL. Because it is week 1 and the football gods have not yet decided to punish us, the Chargers are healthy. At their best, Casey Hayward and Jason Verrett are both top-tier cornerbacks. As for defensive ends, the Chargers are loaded. Melvin Ingram is one of the most explosive pass rushers in the league and Joey Bosa has been a popular pick for defensive player of the year this season. The Chargers defense has yet to field a unit with all four of these players healthy. However, we will get to see it on Monday and that gives them an excellent chance of winning.
Why the Broncos Will Win
1.) The Denver Broncos arguably have the best defensive player in the NFL in pass rusher, Von Miller. On any given play, he is able to single-handedly disrupt the offense. He will be lining up against a Chargers offensive line that will be featuring Spencer Pulley, Kenny Wiggins, and Joe Barksdale. That is a mismatch in favor of the Broncos. If Rivers is not able to get the ball out quickly on Monday Night, he will be in for a long, and difficult evening In addition to Miller, the Chargers will still have to deal with Shaquil Barrett and Derek Wolfe. The Broncos’ pass rush is fearsome and will not be able to be completely stopped. The best Los Angeles can hope for is to contain them.
2.) Trevor Siemian is not Philip Rivers, but Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders are two of the best wide receivers in the league. The Bolts outside corners are great, but the safeties are not a strength for the Chargers, even though they are better than last year’s unit. If The Chargers pass rush struggles, either Thomas or Sanders will likely find a way to get open. One of the two should be able to get open. Even though the Broncos receivers are the bigger threat, Denver also features some playmakers at running back in C.J. Anderson and Jamaal Charles, who has always given the Chargers difficulty from his days in Kansas City.
3.) Aqib Talib and Chris Harris are two of the best starting corners in the NFL. The Chargers have some excellent receiving threats, but the Broncos secondary is as good as it gets. If Von Miller is as effective as expected, the they will not have to cover all that long. The Chargers also have a great cornerback tandem in Jason Verrett and Casey Hayward. However, and bluntly put, Talib and Harris are better, or at the very least, more consistent. If Keenan Allen and Tyrell Williams can find a way to get open, they will be doing it against long odds.
So…Chargers Fans…we are close to the 2017 season kickoff? Will the Broncos beat the Bolts at home? Or, will the Chargers start the ‘Fight For LA’ by matching the crosstown Rams, win for win? Are you ready for some football? Let’s hear your thoughts!!
– Mike D’Abate is the Managing Editor for cover32.com/Chargers and covers the Los Angeles Chargers.