The Denver Broncos have been the most disappointing team in the NFL through the first five weeks of the season. Denver was expected to be a potential Super Bowl contender after the acquisition of Russell Wilson, but the Broncos are currently 2-3 and ranked 31st in scoring offense with 15.0 PPG. However, they do have one of the best defenses in the NFL, and that gives them a chance of knocking off the Los Angeles Chargers on Monday Night Football this week.
Two AFC West rivals with high aspirations coming into this season will meet on Monday Night Football to close out Week 6. The Los Angeles Chargers will host the Denver Broncos at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California on Monday, October 17, 2022, at 8:15 p.m. ET on ESPN.
NFL Week 6 Betting Odds
Denver Broncos +4.5
Los Angeles Chargers -4.5
Money Line: Broncos +188, Chargers -225
Although the Denver Broncos played in one of the worst primetime games we’ve ever seen last week, there has been action on them in the run-up to this game. Initially, the Los Angeles Chargers were 6.5-point favorites by the NFL betting odds this week, but the spread has dropped by two points. There has been a little movement on the total too with the Over/Under falling from 46.5 to 45.5.
It’s been shocking to see just how much Russell Wilson has fallen off this year. Denver believed that the franchise had finally found an elite signal caller again after giving up a bevy of picks and players for him back in March, but Wilson has not performed well through his first five games with the Broncos. He has struggled to read coverages, and although he was diagnosed with a lat injury, that hasn’t been as big of a problem as his inability to scan the field and find open receivers. Wilson is not progressing through reads well, so he is completing less than 60% of his passes and has just one more touchdown pass than interception through five games.
Denver does have some quality receivers too. Courtland Sutton and Jerry Jeudy are an above average tandem, and K.J. Hamler can stretch the field with his speed. This offense has taken a big hit in each of the last two weeks as running back Javonte Williams and left tackle Garett Bolles both suffered season-ending injuries. That will hurt Wilson even more, as Williams was the better receiver out of the backfield and Bolles protected his blindside.
Fortunately, the Broncos have an excellent defense. They rank fourth in scoring defense (16.0 PPG) and third in total defense (289.0 YPG). Pat Surtain II is one of the best cornerbacks in the league, but there are some real injury concerns ahead of this game. Ronald Darby suffered a season-ending injury last week, and Randy Gregory has been placed on injured reserve.
Los Angeles Chargers
Justin Herbert continues to be excellent even though he hasn’t had his best receiver since Week 1. Keenan Allen has now missed more than a month due to a hamstring injury, and he is questionable to play on Monday night. Herbert might not have his other top option either as Mike Williams has missed practice with an unspecified illness, and that could be a big problem considering the next two leading receivers are running back Austin Ekeler and tight end Gerald Everett.
Ekeler has been one of the best dual threat running backs in the league this season. He is averaging 5.1 YPC and 6.9 YPR out of the backfield, and he has over 500 yards from scrimmage on less than 100 touches. The loss of left tackle Rashawn Slater has really hurt this offense, but the interior of the line has performed quite nicely.
Teams have been able to run on the Chargers as the middle of the front seven has been weak. Khalil Mack isn’t the same difference maker he once was earlier in his career, and Kyle Van Noy hasn’t been great. Joey Bosa is on injured reserve, depriving this team of its best pass rusher, but at least the secondary has been solid now that J.C. Jackson is healthy once more.
Broncos at Chargers Free Pick
If Denver can run the ball effectively on LA, the Broncos have a real chance to win this game. However, that’s a bigger ‘if’ than you might think, given Denver’s injury issues. Herbert could pick apart Denver’s defense without Darby too, so the Chargers are the pick this week.
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