LA Chargers (0-0) at Denver (0-0)
When: Monday, September 11th 2017
Where: Sports Authority Field, Denver, CO
Time: 10:20 ET | TV: ESPN
Opening Odds: Denver -4/44
The Los Angeles Chargers begin a new era when they take on their longtime AFC West-rivals the Denver Broncos in the final game of the weekend on Monday Night Football. Both teams will feature new coaches – Vance Joseph for Denver and Anthony Lynn for Los Angeles, while the Chargers play their initial game since ditching San Diego after 56 seasons. The Broncos missed the playoffs last season after winning the Super Bowl following the 2015 Peyton Manning-lead season and once again will count on their defense led by star linebacker Von Miller. Denver rehired Mike McCoy to run the offense after he spent the last four seasons as the Chargers’ coach, going 9-23 over the past two years before being fired. L.A. will have a healthy Keenan Allen back after tearing an ACL in the 2016 season opener. Allen, who recorded 1,046 receiving yards as a rookie in 2013, has played in just nine games over the last two seasons. The Broncos have won five of the last six meetings and hold a 63-50-1 series advantage.
Quarterback Philip Rivers is still going strong at age 35 and has topped 4,000 yards eight times to go along with five seasons of 30 or more touchdown passes. Melvin Gordon missed a 1,000-yard rushing season by three yards when he sat out the final three games with hip and knee injuries, while veteran Antonio Gates has 111 career touchdown receptions – tied with Tony Gonzalez for most by a tight end in NFL history. On the defensive side, pass rushers Joey Bosa (10.5 sacks as a rookie) and Melvin Ingram (eight) will test a Denver offensive line that has four new starters while cornerback Casey Hayward (NFL-best seven interceptions) leads the secondary. The Chargers will play their first regular season game in L.A. next week against the Miami Dolphins.
Trevor Siemian begins his second year as a starter taking over for Manning and passed for 3,401 yards last season and has two terrific weapons in Demaryius Thomas (five straight 1,000-yard seasons) and Emmanuel Sanders (three straight). Running back C.J. Anderson is healthy after playing just seven games in 2016 before undergoing season-ending knee surgery. Former Kansas City star Jamaal Charles will try to revive his career after appearing in only eight games over the last two seasons due to his own knee issues. Miller is second in the NFL in both sacks (73.5) and forced fumbles (19) since entering in 2011 while Aqib Talib is tied for fourth in league history with nine career interceptions returned for touchdowns. Miller has 13 sacks in 12 games versus the Chargers.
I think Denver could be a surprise team this season. We know their defense is terrific, but the offense can be good. I think Siemian is underrated and he has two terrific wide receivers. The running game needs to stay healthy and they have a good 1-2 punch in Anderson and Charles. The Chargers failed to cover the spread in their last five games, while the Broncos are 6-2 ATS in their last eight home openers. Denver rolls in this one.
Pick: Broncos -3
- Chargers are 5-0 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 1.
- Chargers are 11-3-1 ATS in their last 15 games in September.
- Chargers are 10-4 ATS in their last 14 road games.
- Chargers are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs. AFC.
- Chargers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
- Chargers are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 games on grass.
- Broncos are 6-0 ATS in their last 6 games in September.
- Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 1.
- Broncos are 7-3-1 ATS in their last 11 home games.
- Broncos are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 vs. AFC.
- Broncos are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games on grass.
- Broncos are 2-6-1 ATS in their last 9 Monday games.
- Broncos are 2-6 ATS in their last 8 vs. AFC West.
- Under is 4-0 in Chargers last 4 Monday games.
- Under is 4-1-1 in Chargers last 6 games overall.
- Under is 3-1-1 in Chargers last 5 games on grass.
- Over is 5-2 in Chargers last 7 vs. AFC West.
- Over is 6-1 in Broncos last 7 games in Week 1.
- Over is 4-1 in Broncos last 5 games in September.
- Under is 4-1 in Broncos last 5 games overall.
- Under is 4-1 in Broncos last 5 games on grass.
- Over is 4-1 in Broncos last 5 vs. AFC West.
- Under is 4-1 in Broncos last 5 vs. AFC.
- Under is 13-6-1 in Broncos last 20 home games.
- Chargers are 8-2-4 ATS in their last 14 meetings in Denver.
- Road team is 10-3-1 ATS in their last 14 meetings.
- Over is 9-3 in the last 12 meetings in Denver.