Los Angeles Chargers at Denver Broncos
Monday, September 11, 2017, 10:20 pm Eastern, TV: ESPN
Sports Authority Field – Denver, Colorado
Opening Line: Denver -5
Current Line: Denver -3
Opening Total: 44
Current Total: 43
Opening Money Line: Broncos -170 / Chargers +150
Current Money Line: Broncos -150 / Chargers +130
For the first time in 56 years, an NFL season opens without a franchise in San Diego. The Chargers moved up the freeway to Los Angeles because they could not get a new stadium deal in San Diego. The new Los Angeles Chargers open the season on the road against a familiar foe as they travel to the Denver Broncos late Monday night.
Denver leads the series 64-50-1 against LA/San Diego. The Broncos have won six of the last meetings against the Chargers. The Chargers won 21-13 at home to snap a five game losing streak in the series. The Broncos won the last meeting at home 27-19 in late October.
Los Angeles is coached by Anthony Lynn who is in his first year as coach after Mike McCoy was fired. The Chargers went 5-11 last season in their San Diego swan song. Los Angeles went 7-9 ATS and the total was 9-6-1 last year. The Chargers went 1-3 in the pre-season including a 23-13 loss at the San Francisco 49ers in week four.
Denver is coached by Vance Joseph, also in his first year. He took over for Gary Kubiak who had to retire for health reasons. The Broncos were 9-7 last year and finished third in the AFC West. Denver went 9-7 ATS and the total was 7-9 last season. The Broncos were 4-0 in the preseason, including a 30-2 home win over the Arizona Cardinals in week four.
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Los Angeles was outscored 26.4-25.6 last season. The Chargers averaged 357 yards per game on offense including 262 passing yards and 94 rushing yards. On defense, Los Angeles allowed 347 yards per game including 249 passing yards per game and 98 rushing yards. The Chargers were 91/212 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 94/224. The Chargers forced 36 sacks and has allowed 35 this season. LA was -7 in turnovers. The Chargers both scored five defensive touchdowns and allowed five as well.
Quarterback Philip Rivers has completed 60.4% of his passes for 4,386 yards with 33 touchdowns and 21 interceptions, plus 14 carries for 35 yards. Kellen Clemens is the back-up.
Running back Melvin Gordon had 254 carries for 997 yards and 10 touchdowns, plus 41 catches for 419 yards and 2 touchdowns. Branden Oliver is the back-up. Rookie Austin Ekeler will also get some carries. Derek Watt is the fullback.
Receiver Keenan Allen returns from a knee injury that kept him out for almost all of last season. Tyrell Williams has 69 catches for 1,059 yards and 7 touchdowns. He is probable with a groin injury. Dontrelle Inman had 58 catches for 810 yards and 4 touchdowns. He is questionable with a groin injury. Travis Benjamin had 47 catches for 677 yards and 4 touchdowns. Another receiver, first round draft pick Mike Williams is out for the first month of the season wit a back injury. Tight end Antonio Gates had 53 catches for 548 yards and 7 touchdowns. Tight end Hunter Henry had 36 catches for 478 yards and 8 touchdowns. Five defensive players and two offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.
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Denver outscored teams 21-19 last season. The Broncos averaged 323 yards per game on offense including 230 passing and 93 rushing yard. On defense, Denver allowed 316 total yards including 186 passing and 130 rushing yards per game. The Broncos were 86/236 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents were 92/252. The Broncos forced 42 sacks and allowed 40 last season. Denver was +2 in turnovers, and the Broncos had four defensive touchdowns.
Quarterback Trevor Siemian completed 59.5% of his passes for 3,401 yards with 18 touchdowns and 10 interceptions, and has 28 carries for 57 yards. Paxton Lynch completed 59% of his passes for 497 yards with 2 touchdowns and a touchdown, plus 11 carries for 25 yards. He is out until mid-October with a shoulder injury, but he struggled badly in the pre-season. The Broncos resigned Brock Osweiler after unsuccessful stints with the Texans and Browns.
Running back DeVontae Booker had 174 carries for 612 yards and 4 touchdowns, and he also had 31 catches for 265 yards and a touchdown. He is out until late September with a wrist injury C.J. Anderson had 110 carries for 437 yards and 4 touchdowns, plus 16 catches for 128 yards and a touchdown. He returns from a knee injury that cost him the second half of the season. The Broncos also signed veteran Jamaal Charles from the rival Chiefs. Charles is also coming off a knee injury. Fullback Andy Janovich will also get some carries. .
Receiver DeMaryius Thomas had 90 catches for 1,083 yards and 5 touchdowns. He is probable with a groin injury. Emmanuel Sanders had 79 catches for 1,032 yards and 5 touchdowns. Jordan Norwood had 21 catches for 232 yards and a touchdown. Tight end Virgil Green has 22 catches for 237 yards and a touchdown. Two offensive linemen are listed on the injury report, along with eight defensive players.
Los Angeles is 5-0 ATS in week one games, 11-3-1 in September, 10-4 in road games, 1-4 against AFC teams, 0-5 overall and on grass. The road team is 10-3-1 ATS in this series recently. The Chargers are 8-2-4 ATS in Denver recently.
Denver is 6-0 ATS in September, 4-1 in week one, 7-3-1 at home, 2-5 against AFC teams and on grass, 2-6-1 in Monday games, and 2-6 against AFC West teams. The over is 9-3 in this series in Denver recently.
The Chiefs and Raiders already picked up Big wins this weekend over AFC contenders, and the winner of this game will keep pace in the AFC West. Like the other home team in this Monday night doubleheader, the Minnesota Vikings, the Broncos have a championship level defense but a very mediocre offense. Still, i like the Broncos to win at home. The Chargers hang around for awhile, but the Broncos pull away late in a low scoring game.