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Broncos Pick ‘Em: Will Sean Payton and Denver sweep the Los Angeles Chargers?

Zac Stevens Avatar
December 9, 2023

Three of the Denver Broncos’ remaining five games of the season are against AFC West opponents.

Two of those games are against the 5-7 Los Angeles Chargers.

On Sunday, Denver will travel to Los Angeles for the first matchup. Then, just three weeks later, on New Year’s Eve, the Broncos will host their division rival in the second-to-last game of the season.

Both games will carry massive playoff implications as Denver pushes for the postseason.

Will the Broncos take care of business against Justin Herbert in Sean Payton’s first two games against the division rival?

The DNVR Broncos Crew breaks it down.

All odds below are courtesy of bet365.

Will the Broncos sweep the Chargers?

Zac: Yes, they have to — If the Broncos want to complete their push to the playoffs, they really have to take care of business in the AFC.

Denver, the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals are the only teams in the AFC with at least a .500 record that have a losing record in the conference. That’s important because after head-to-head matchups, conference record is the next tiebreaker when determining playoff tiebreakers.

The good news is the Chargers are Chargering more than ever this year.

Despite having a franchise quarterback in Justin Herbert, the Chargers continue to find ways to lose games. The only reason they won last week — a disgusting 6-0 win over the New England Patriots — is because they played the second-worst team in the NFL.

The Chargers will give the Broncos a run for their money, potentially in both games, but in the end, Denver will come out with both wins and sweep Los Angeles this year.

RK: Yes — The Denver Broncos will sweep the Los Angeles Chargers this year and they will do it on the back of coaching. Denver has split with LA three years in a row but in each of those years they have not been able to clear the low bar that the Chargers have a head coach.

That said, Sean Payton vs. Brandon Staley is a huge mismatch and that alone should be enough to get the Broncos over the hump in these two games. Payton should be able to scheme open receivers in LA’s questionable secondary and Denver should be able to scrounge up a respectable running game. Combine that with some bend-don’t-break defense from Vance Joseph’s unit and Denver could win these games comfortably.

History tells us this will be a split, the coaching matchup tells us this will be a sweep.

Hank: No — Beating a good team twice is hard. Fortunately, the Chargers aren’t a good team. Unfortunately, I still don’t think Denver will sweep them.

Let’s take a peek at ESPN’s metrics. The Worldwide Leader in Sports gives the Broncos a 31% chance to beat the Chargers this week and a 36% chance to beat them in Denver later this month. I think ESPN is wrong. Very wrong. 

To me, this week’s game is a tossup (despite the Broncos’ three-game losing streak to the Chargers in Los Angeles) and Denver’s home game has a two-to-one—or maybe even three-to-one—chance of ending with a Broncos win.

Even with those expectations, picking the sweep is a bad bet.

And if you trust ESPN, or Vegas, or anybody else who attempts to turn football games into probabilities, the sweep is a much, much worse bet.

The sweep is possible, but I won’t believe it until I see it.

Picks Picks Picks

Russell Wilson passing yards over/under 212.5

Zac: Under.

RK: Over.

Hank: Over.

Courtland Sutton receiving yards over/under 54.5

Zac: Under.

RK: Over.

Hank: Over.

Keenan Allen receiving yards over/under 84.5

Zac: Under.

RK: Under.

Hank: Over.

Quentin Johnston receiving yards over/under 28.5

Zac: Over.

RK: Under.

Hank: Over.

Javonte Williams rushing yards over/under 64.5

Zac: Over.

RK: Under.

Hank: Under.

Austin Ekeler receiving + rushing yards over/under 83.5

Zac: Over.

RK: Over.

Hank: Under.

Broncos-Chargers total points over/under 44

Zac: Under.

RK: Under.

Hank: Under.

Broncos @ Chargers (-2.5)

Zac: Broncos.

RK: Broncos.

Hank: Broncos.

Bills @ Chiefs (-1.5)

Zac: Chiefs.

RK: Chiefs.

Hank: Bills.

Vikings (-3) @ Raiders

Zac: Raiders.

RK: Vikings.

Hank: Vikings.

Leaderboard

Last week

Hank: 6-4-1

Zac: 4-6-1

RK: 4-6-1

 

Overall

Hank: 91-67-4

Zac: 86-72-4

RK: 78-80-4

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