Huge game in the AFC West as the Denver Broncos travel to San Diego to take on the San Diego Chargers. The game will televised on CBS and has a start time of 4:25 pm (Eastern). Vegas odds have Denver listed as 7 point favorites, while the total sits at 58.
Analysis: Denver coach John Fox is recovering from heart surgery and will be replaced by defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio for this showdown with San Diego. The Broncos' offense leads the NFL in most major categories, including scoring (42.9 ppg), total offense (466.4 ypg), yards per play (6.4), passing offense (358.5 ypg), third down conversions (50.5%) and red zone efficiency (78.4%). Peyton manning has been awesome in the hurry-up offense, with 2,919 pass yards, 29 TDs to just 6 INTs. The only negative of this offense is a ground game averaging a mere 3.7 yards per carry (25th in league) and 107.8 YPG (17th in league). RB Knowshon Moreno has rushed for less than 50 yards in three straight games, but has contributed heavily as a receiver during this span with 160 yards through the air. On the defensive side of the ball, the Denver defense has been outstanding vs the run, allowing a mere 81.5 yards per game (3rd in NFL) on 3.4 ypc (2nd in league). But defending the pass has been a different story with the Broncos surrendering 299.1 ypg (3rd-most in NFL).
The Chargers remain in the thick of the race for a wild card berth despite last week's overtime loss in Washington - the team's third defeat in the final seconds of regulation or OT. San Diego has thrown for 300 YPG (4th in NFL) on a hefty 8.4 yards per attempt (3rd in league) as QB Philip Rivers has already eclipsed 400 passing yards three times this season and he has done it despite being without his two starting WRs (Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd) for the majority of the season. Rookie WR Keenan Allen has picked up the slack of late as he has 31 catches for 497 yards and 3 TD over the past five games. While the offense is in good shape, the San Diego defense has been pretty terrible all year in both defending the pass (8.5 ypa, 2nd-worst in NFL) and the run (4.9 ypc, 3rd-worst in league), but they have only allowed 21.8 ppg.
Pick: I will be going with the Under in this game. The Bolts and every one else around the NFL know how to give yourself the best shot at upsetting the Broncos and that is ball control and San Diego is one of the better teams in the league in doing that. They will dink and dunk and use their improving ground game to keep Peyton on the sidelines, where he can't beat you. For Denver, yes they will score points, but they also don't score all that quickly too many times. they will also work the ball down field and San Diego would rather allow them to do that rather than the big quick strike. Bottom line here is San Diego will not let this be a shootout. That is not how you beat Denver and San Diego knows it. I look for them to control the clock and keep this game in the 40's.
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