How the Broncos can beat the high-flying Chargers today in the Mile High City

Nov 7, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Denver Broncos wide receiver Courtland Sutton (14) celebrates a touchdown against the Dallas Cowboys during the second half at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The Denver Broncos are returning from a much-needed bye week. Following a tough loss at home to the Philadelphia Eagles, the Broncos look to get back on track.

If Denver wins, they put themselves in striking position for first place the following week on Sunday Night Football against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Did the Broncos make a good decision to re-sign their top two receivers? Who needs to be a difference-maker versus the Los Angeles Chargers? What does our team think the final score be?

With seven games to go, this Sunday kicks off the unofficial second half of the season for the Broncos. Our Mile High Sports Broncos team gives you their thoughts on the pivotal game.

What are your thoughts on the Broncos re-signing of Tim Patrick and Courtland Sutton?

Zach Segars (@Zach_Segars): I absolutely love it! They locked up two of the most talented, highest character players on the roster at an impressive discount. What’s not to like?

Rich Kurtzman (@RichKurtzman): It was an amazing week for George Paton. Patrick is the ultimate team player and willing to do whatever the group needs from him without having to be the star. Sutton can be that legitimate No. 1 guy, and hopefully, he continues to move in that direction.
Lindsay Bebout (@lindsaybebout): ECSTATIC! George Paton re-signed them at an incredible price. From an optics standpoint, it was a brilliant move on his part because he knows the fans aren’t happy with the current state of the team and it gives them something to be excited about for the future.

JT Matthews (@JTMatthews01): I think it is another showing of competency by George Paton. Although there is a faction of Broncos fans that will incessantly criticize his choice to pass on a quarterback in the draft, he has done a fantastic job creating this roster. Re-signing Tim Patrick and Courtland Sutton was another feather in Paton’s cap and shows that even talented would-be free agents believe in the direction of this franchise.

Nicholas Manning (@Dr_NManning): The moves are tremendous for several reasons. First, rewarding key core players always plays well in the locker room and with the fan base. Additionally, the deals coincide with when the rookie contracts of Jerry Jeudy and K.J. Hamler expire. Thus, Paton and Co. have the flexibility to pick which receivers should be re-upped then.

Joey Richards (@JRDrafts): It’s fantastic to see the Broncos pay deserving players. This is a pleasant change from the Elway era where the Broncos were widely known for nickel-and-diming every player.

What gives you confidence against the Chargers? What gives you the most concern? 

Zach Segars: The Chargers’ awful defense provides the most confidence. Easily the worst in the league against the run, and they don’t stop the pass well either. Justin Herbert raises the most concern for obvious reasons.
Nicholas Manning: The Broncos run game gives me confidence. Going against the worst run defense in the NFL bodes well for the Broncos’ strength, Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon. Justin Herbert is the biggest cause for concern. His ability to take advantage of Denver’s issues on the backend should worry everyone in Dove Valley.
Joey Richards: The thing that should give all Broncos fans confidence is just how bad the Chargers are against the run. Javonte Williams and Melvin Gordon should have a big day. The thing that scares me the most is Justin Herbert. Only in his second year, he is already a stud with the talent to only get better from here.

JT Matthews: This defense is still a force to be reckoned with and can create chances for this team to get ahead and stay ahead. I am still concerned about the offense’s ability to score, especially if they fall behind. If they can utilize both running backs and put together sustained drives that end in touchdowns, I will like their chances much more.

Rich Kurtzman: Justin Herbert is the most concerning and at the same time, he can help Denver. If Herbert turns the ball over multiple times, as he has been known to do, the Broncos will be right in the thick of things. If he just balls out, Denver will probably get blown out.

Lindsay Bebout: Two things give me confidence; First, they have the worst run defense in the league, and second, despite being a good team, the Chargers seem to always find a way to “Charger” and blow games they shouldn’t be blowing.

Who has to be Denver’s difference-maker to beat the Chargers Sunday?

Lindsay Bebout: Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams need to have their best game of the season. Hopefully, Pat Shurmur realizes that too.

Rich Kurtzman: I say, Teddy Bridgewater. Teddy needs to have a great game Sunday and if he does, the Broncos and Chargers may find themselves in a shootout.

Zach Segars: Javonte Williams or Melvin Gordon. LA’s run defense is their most exploitable weakness and the ground attack catalyzes this entire Broncos team, as seen in Dallas.

JT Matthews: I think the more pressure that Denver’s pass rushers can generate, the more likely they will be able to force Justin Herbert into tough situations. Look for Jonathon Cooper and, potentially, Bradley Chubb to bring the heat.
Joey Richards: Pat Shurmur has to call a good game and take advantage of the Chargers’ terrible run defense. Often we see the Broncos go away from the run and that can not happen in this game.
Nicholas Manning: The difference maker(s) are a pair of rookies. Williams and Caden Sterns must play big for Denver this week. Controlling the ground game will limit opportunities for Herbert and Co. If Sterns continues his strong play, his ability to blitz and play coverage gives Denver a dynamic piece on the backend to defend the Chargers’ potent pass defense.

If Denver wins, next week’s Sunday Night matchup against the Chiefs will be for first place. How do you feel about that potential matchup?

Rich Kurtzman: Not great. Kansas City is hitting its stride. However, if Denver can beat LA this week (seems like a long shot), momentum could be on the Broncos side.

Zach Segars: Horribly nervous. KC’s rounding into shape at the right time, and their defense is playing at the level it needs to be. In a wide-open AFC, they might once again be the favorites.
Joey Richards: The Chiefs scare me no matter what their record may indicate. At the end of the day, they have Patrick Mahomes and a plethora of scary weapons for him to throw to. This gives them a chance in every game and I don’t feel very confident the Broncos’ offense can match that firepower.

Lindsay Bebout: No comment…

JT Matthews: I will be hopeful but not necessarily optimistic. The Chiefs are clicking at the right time and Mahomes will always be a challenge to hem in.

Nicholas Manning: I believe the Broncos have the personnel to match up against the Chiefs. Their ability to control the ball and play coverage gives them a chance. If Denver uses the script from the two teams’ last matchup, it has a chance again this season.

What is your prediction for the game Sunday?

JT Matthews: It will be a relatively low-scoring game with Denver coming out on the losing end. I have more confidence in the Chargers being able to put together coherent drives throughout the day than I do with the current Broncos quarterback and play calling as they stand. My final prediction is a 21-16 Chargers victory.

Zach Segars: 27-23 Broncos. It’s impossible to trust the Broncos for a myriad of reasons, but they’ve played their best with their back against the wall, much like when they lit up the Cowboys.

Lindsay Bebout: 20-27 Chargers. I think they are just a better team. I may have felt different a couple of weeks ago after the win against the Dallas Cowboys, but with the Cowboys continuing to underwhelm, I’m no longer that impressed.

Nicholas Manning: I am willing Denver to win. The Broncos will run wild and force Herbert to turn it over twice as they squeak out a win, 26-24 in front of their home fans. You’re welcome, Broncos Country.

Rich Kurtzman: Chargers win 31-27. They just have too much firepower, even for Denver’s elite defense. 

Joey Richards: I think the Chargers win this game 28-21. The Chargers offense has the potential to blow up any game and with the Broncos defense underperforming, it’s tough to envision the Broncos winning this game.