By: Keith Richards
Well, it’s week five of this lovely NFL season. This week the Broncos travel to California to face the Chargers. It’s tough to write about the keys to victory when you think the team should tank, but I am a professional…of sorts. We can get through this. As the saying goes, on any given Sunday, the Broncos may win. So, we will discuss the keys to victory for the offense, the keys to victory for the defense, who to look out for on the opposition, and then give the prediction. Let’s get it!
Keys to Victory for the Offense
Not long ago, there was a wrestler in the WWE named Ryback. He was famous for his tagline, which was “Feed Me More!”. The Broncos need this attitude from Phillip Lindsay and Royce Freeman. Feed them more! In the loss to the Jaguars, Linday had ten total touches, and Freeman had 12 total touches. That’s not enough. Like I said, feed them more! Leaning on Flacco to win games is not working. Indeed, the Broncos should be able to feed these two young studs at least twice as much.
Also, for the Broncos to have a chance to win this game, the offensive line needs to have a performance similar to the one they had last week. Yes, that’s a tall task for this offensive line. Still, they proved last week that they could do it. I see no reason why they cannot do it again. The offensive line must keep Joey Bosa out of the backfield as much as possible. They will not be able to stop him, but they can contain him. In other words, ensure that he feeds less.
Keys to Victory for the Defense
Like the offensive line, the defensive line needs to have a performance like they had last week. These players may not get the clout that others get, but the Chargers have a big three of their own in Rivers, Allen, and Gordon. Rivers is getting up there in age, but he is as sharp as ever. He knows how to get the ball to Gordon and Allen to move the Chargers down the field. So, the Broncos have to make his life hell. Disrupt this rhythm, frustrate him, and do whatever they can to get in his head.
With Chubb out for the season, someone else on the Broncos defense needs to be the next man up. Last year, this would not be a concern with Shaq Barrett and Shane Ray in the lineup. That is not the case this year. While we’re on the subject, Barrett leads the NFL with nine sacks. So, thank you, John Elway. We are moving on. Chubb’s lost production falls in the hands of Reed and Attaochu. I’m sure they did not expect to be in this position, but thems the brakes. Time to play!
Players to Look Out For
Firstly, there is Keenan Allen. Keenan Allen is a problem. So far, he is averaging over 100 yards receiving per game. Keenan is second in the NFL in receptions, yards, and targets. The player on the Chargers closet to him in targets is Austin Ekeler with 25 targets. Allen has 22 more than that. The Broncos will get a heavy dose of Keenan Allen. To their credit, Denver’s defense only gives up 200 yards passing per game, but Allen is not a typical receiver. He will be a problem for the Broncos if they do not reel him in early.
Secondly, there is Melvin Gordon. As of right now, Melvin Gordon is playing, but it’s not guaranteed that he will start. The Chargers are probably watching the film of the Jaguars game and salivating. Melvin Gordon is not the same physical threat as Leonard Fournette, but he still presents issues that Fournette did not. Gordon is still only a week off his holdout. So, he cannot be that much into game shape. The Broncos have to crush his confidence early, and they have to crush it often. Soon, Gordon will be back to crushing dreams, but it cannot be this week.
The frustrating thing about the Broncos is that they aren’t a terrible team. I complain a lot, but they are still very talented. They have the tools and players to win this game, but I know that they will not. Rivers, Allen, and Gordon are just too much for them right now. I will take the Chargers 34-20 over the Broncos.
Be sure to check back early next week for the recap. Once again, I hope I am wrong, and the Broncos get a win.