Chargers vs Broncos showdown turns into a run-heavy matchup

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS (6-4) in DENVER (5-5) Sunday 4:05 PM EST, CBS LINE: Chargers with 2½, according to FanDuel SportsBook.…


Sunday, 4:05 PM EST, CBS

LINE: Chargers with 2 , according to FanDuel SportsBook.

AGAINST THE SPREAD: Los Angeles Chargers 5-5; Denver 5-5.

SERIES RECORD: Broncos lead 69-53-1.

FINAL MEETING: Chargers beat Broncos 19-16 on December 27, 2020 at SoFi Stadium.

LAST WEEK: Chargers defeated Steelers 41-37, Broncos had bye, lost 30-13 to Eagles on November 14.





TURNOVER DIFFERENTIAL: Chargers plus-1; Bronko’s 0.

LADER PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB Austin Ekeler is the only player in the AFC to have 500 or more rushing yards (573) and more than 400 receiving yards (405). He had four touchdowns in the win over Pittsburgh last week and is one of only two players this season to have at least three TDs in two games.

BRONCOS PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB duo of Melvin Gordon II and rookie Javonte Williams, who combined for 221 carries for 1,036 yards and six touchdowns. Gordon is the finisher, with five touchdowns. Williams is a tackle-breaking machine with a hasty average of 5 meters. The only team to stop this pair is the Broncos themselves, as OC Pat Shurmur has repeatedly switched from an effective ground game, to the team’s disadvantage.

IMPORTANT MATCHUP: Chargers WR Keenan Allen vs. Broncos CB Kyle Fuller, filling in for Bryce Callahan (hyperextended knee). Coach Vic Fangio will be tempted to move rookie CB Patrick Surtain II in to cover Allen, as a bigger body with longer reach is a better matchup. Otherwise, Fuller will have to interrupt Allen on the line, which is always a dangerous proposition.

MAIN INJURIES: Chargers CB Asante Samuel Jr. has a concussion. DT Linval Joseph, DE Jerry Tillery and DT Christian Covington are on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Broncos LT Garett Bolles, who missed the last two games with a sprained ankle, went on the COVID-19 list. … CB Callahan (knee) is on IR. … ILB Baron Browning has to deal with a beam-like back. … S Kareem Jackson (neck/shoulder) missed practice time during the week.

SERIES NOTES: The Chargers broke a three-game slip in the series last December with a 19-16 win. Before that, the Chargers were the only team Fangio (17-25) had much success against, winning his first three games with a total of 11 points. That included a 31-30 thriller on November 1, 2020, when Drew Lock hit KJ Hamler for a touchdown as time went on and the extra point from Brandon McManus capped off a comeback from a 24-3 deficit in the third quarter.

STATS AND THINGS: The Chargers have won five consecutive AFC West games after losing nine in a row. … The offense is sixth in the league on third downs with a 45.2% success rate. …QB Justin Herbert is fourth in the league in passing yards per game (292.7) and touchdowns (21). Four of his 13 300-yard passing games came against AFC West teams. He has thrown 17 TDs and no interceptions in his last six starts against the division. … Allen needs two receptions to reach 700 and equate Antonio Brown as the fastest player in NFL history to do so (111 games). Allen also has three consecutive games with at least eight receptions, which equals a franchise record. … WR Mike Williams has five starts or winning touchdowns in the fourth quarter this season, which is a league record. He had one last week vs. Pittsburgh. … LB Joey Bosa has been bagged in the last three games he has played. … LB Kyzir White has at least eight tackles in five consecutive games. He is also tied for seventh in the AFC with 4 1/2 tackles for loss on run plays. …S Derwin James leads NFL defensive backs with 86 tackles. …QB Teddy Bridgewater’s 14 TD throws are slightly less than his career high last year with the Panthers. Bridgewater has only thrown one interception in his last four games. …Former Chargers RB Gordon III has TD runs in three consecutive games, but has critical fumbles in two of those games, giving him 20 for his career with 50 TD runs. … Javonte Williams’ 514 rushing yards ranks third among the NFL’s rookie running backs. … WR Jerry Jeudy has had half a dozen receptions in three of his four games this season, though he hasn’t reached the end zone yet. … WR Courtland Sutton had four receptions for 74 yards and two TDs in his final game against the Chargers, on December 1, 2019. Sutton signed a four-year, $60 million extension Monday, 48 hours after WR Tim Patrick signed a three-year, $30 million extension. … TE Albert Okwuegbunam had a career-high 77 yards receiving in Denver’s final game. … S Justin Simmons has 20 interceptions in his career, including three in his last three games.

FANTASY TIP: Ekeler is the best hand in this matchup.


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