NFL Thursday Night Football Picks: Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers

Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers
Qualcomm Stadium – San Diego, California
Thursday, October 13, 2016, 8:25 pm Eastern, TV: CBS, NFL Network
Opening Line: Denver -3
Current Line: Denver -3 (-115)
Opening Total: 46
Current Total: 45
Opening Money Line: Broncos -180 / Chargers +160
Current Money Line: Broncos -175 / Chargers +155

Denver travels to San Diego Thursday night.
Denver travels to San Diego Thursday night.

The 4-1 Denver Broncos travel to the 1-4 San Diego Chargers Thursday night. Denver leads the series 63-49-1 against San Diego. The Broncos have won nine of the last ten games against the Chargers including five straight. Denver won 17-3 in San Diego and 27-20 at home last year. The two teams will play in Denver October 30.

Denver is coached by Gary Kubiak. The Broncos are tied for first place in the AFC West with the Oakland Raiders. Denver suffered their first loss of the season last Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons 23-16 at home. The Falcons led 20-3 going into the fourth and held on for the win. Denver was a 3.5 point favorite against Atlanta and the total was 44.5. The Broncos have home wins over the Carolina Panthers 21-20 and Indianapolis Colts 34-20. Denver won on the road at the Cincinnati Bengals 29-17 and at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 27-7. Denver is 4-1 ATS and the total is 3-2 this season.

San Diego is coached by Mike McCoy. The Chargers have a win at home over the Jacksonville Jaguars 38-14. San Diego has road losses the Kansas City Chiefs 33-27 in overtime, Indianapolis Colts 26-22, and Raiders last week 34-31, plus a home loss to the New Orleans Saints 35-34. The Chargers blew double digit leads in the fourth quarter against the Chiefs and Saints. Against Oakland, San Diego was a 3.5 point favorite and the total was 50.5. The Chargers are 3-2 ATS and the total is 4-1 this season.

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Denver is outscoring teams 25-17 this season. The Broncos are #9 in scoring and #5 in points allowed. Denver averages 327 yards per game on offense including 226 passing and 101 rushing yards. On defense, Denver allows 301 total yards including 186 passing and 115 rushing yards per game. The Broncos are in the top six in total and pass defense but #22 against the rush. Denver is 28/67 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 30/75. The Broncos have forced 19 sacks and allowed 15 this season. Denver is +3 in turnovers, and the Broncos have two defensive touchdowns.

Second year quarterback Trevor Siemian has been a pleasant surprise this season. He has completed 67.3% of his passes for 824 yards with 6 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, and has 9 carries for 32 yards. He suffered  a shoulder injury against the Buccaneers and missed the game against the Falcons. He is listed as probable Thursday. Rookie Paxton Lynch came in relief for Siemien and started against Atlanta. He has completed 62.7% of his passes for 393 yards with 2 touchdowns and a touchdown, plus 9 carries for 14 yards.

Running back C.J. Anderson has 84 carries for 293 yards and 3 touchdowns, plus 12 catches for 94 yards and a touchdown. DeVontae Booker will also get some carries.

Receiver DeMaryius Thomas has 26 catches for 381 yards and 3 touchdowns. Emmanuel Sanders has 32 catches for 373 yards and 3 touchdowns. Tight end Virgil Green has 7 catches for 74 yards but is probable with a calf injury. Two offensive linemen are listed on the injury report, along with four defensive players.

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San Diego is outscoring teams 30-28 this season. The Chargers are #2 in scoring but #28 in points allowed. San Diego averages 373 yards per game on offense including 283 passing yards and 90 rushing yards. The Chargers are in the top ten in total and passing offense. On defense, San Diego allows 375 yards per game including 291 passing yards per game and 84 rushing yards. The Chargers are #8 in rush defense but #27 against the pass. San Diego is 26/62 on third and fourth down conversions and opponents are 31/73. The Chargers have forced 11 sacks and has allowed 12  this season. San Diego is -2 in turnovers.

Quarterback Philip Rivers has completed 68.4% of his passes for 1,469 yards with 11 touchdowns and 3 interceptions, plus 5 carries for 21 yards.

Running back Melvin Gordon has 89 carries for 299 yards and 6 touchdowns, plus 14 catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. Running back Danny Woodhead is out for the season with a knee injury. He had 19 carries for 116 yards plus 6 catches for 35 yards and a touchdown. Dexter McCluster is questionable with a hamstring injury. Kenneth Farrow will likely get the back-up carries without Woodhead. He only has 4 carries for the season.

Receiver Travis Benjamin has 28 catches for 394 yards and 2 touchdowns. Tyrell Williams has 21 catches for 358 yards and 2 touchdowns. Hunter Henry has 13 catches for 227 yards and 2 touchdowns. Dontrelle Inman has 13 catches for 168 yards and a touchdown. Antonio Gates has 10 catches for 65 yards and 2 touchdowns. Ten defensive players and seven offensive linemen are listed on the injury report.

Denver is 4-0 ATS in road games, 3-0-1 against AFC teams, 8-1 in Thursday games, 6-1-1 overall, 5-1-1 after allowing 350 yards or more and on grass, 12-4 after a straight up loss, 9-3-1 after failing to cover, 8-3 against AFC West teams, 7-3 against teams with losing home records, and in October, and 2-5 after rushing for 90 yards or less. The road team is 16-6-5 ATS in this series recently. The Broncos have covered their last five trips to San Diego.

San Diego is 6-0 ATS after gaining 350 yards or more, 5-0 against AFC West teams, 4-0 after allowing more than 30 points, 7-1 after a straight up loss, against AFC games, and on grass, 4-1 after a cover, and against teams with winning records, 7-2 overall, 19-7 after allowing 350 yards or more, 5-2 in Thursday games, 3-10 after allowing 250 passing yards or more, 2-7 in October, 3-12-1 after scoring more than 30 points, 3-12 at home, and 1-9 against teams with winning road records. The under 5-2 overall in this series and 5-1 i San Diego between the teams.

The Chargers have lost so many close games, and eventually they will win one. However, I don’t think it will happen this week. The Broncos were dominated by the Falcons and I think they will be angry. I like Denver to win a low scoring game. Amazingly, Denver has not lost a road game inside the division since 2010.

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