PFF Preview: What to expect from Broncos vs. Chargers

Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) defends Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (28) at StubHub Center.
Nov 18, 2018; Carson, CA, USA; Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller (58) defends Los Angeles Chargers running back Melvin Gordon (28) at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

With Drew Lock’s entrance to the NFL coming up on the horizon, Week 12 is set to be the most hope-filled Broncos game since their crushing loss to the Chiefs on Thursday Night Football.

Will this home game against a division rival go the same way, or will the Broncos have more luck this time around? Let’s take a look inside the numbers for the answer.

Soft Bolts defense

The Broncos offense, and potentially Drew Lock, should have an easy matchup this week against the Chargers’ defense.

The Bolts’ defense ranks 20th in the league overall, 24th against the run, 18th in coverage and 13th in rushing the passer according to Pro Football Focus’ team grades.

Even Football Outsiders’ DVOA metric, which is more accurate at measuring a team’s performance than PFF, isn’t a fan of the Chargers’ defense. They rank 25th in total defensive DVOA, 22nd in pass defense DVOA and 27th in run defense DVOA.

The Broncos should also be able to break off multiple big plays considering the Chargers’ struggles with tackling. They grade out as the league’s second-worst tackling unit in the league with a grade of 38.5, ahead of only the Jaguars.

In fact, the only teams with lower grades in any of PFF’s categories are the Jaguars in regards to tackling (33.8) and the Cardinals in regards to coverage (38.1).

The Los Angeles defense has missed 97 tackles this season, which averages out to almost nine missed tackles a game. It also means they’re missing almost one in every five tackles, with a missed tackle rate of 17.3 percent.

Von Miller has his second Thanksgiving feast

Mere days after stuffing his face like countless people do all over America on Thanksgiving, Von Miller will have yet another feast on Sunday in the form of Los Angeles’ offensive line.

The Chargers’ line is, without doubt, one of the very worst in the league and the Broncos’ pass rush should be able to torch it. They rank 29th in pass blocking (56.2) and 28th in run blocking (49.6) according to PFF.

The Chargers’ two starting tackles, Sam Tevi and Russell Okung, who have both been limited in practice this week, rank 41st and 44th among all tackles in overall play, 55th and 15th in pass protection and 36th and 78th in run blocking.

Among all guards, their starting guards rank 24th and 74th overall, 14th and 71st in pass protection and 58th and 71st in run blocking either. Their center situation is poor as well, ranking 30th overall and in pass protection, and 29th in the run game.

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