Can the Broncos slow down Melvin Gordon?
In two games against the Broncos last year Melvin Gordon rushed for 205 yards and brought in four passes for an additional 44 receiving yards. The Broncos defence was ranked 28th versus the run last year and if we hope to have a chance we need to be able to put opposing offences into third-and-long scenarios so that the full force of the No Fly Zone can be felt. With Jared Crick and Zach Kerr ruled out, look for Adam Gotsis and Shelby Harris to pick up the rest of the snaps alongside Derek Wolfe and Domata Peko.
Will the offensive line allow the Broncos to move the ball?
It was the offensive line which prevented Denver from making the playoffs last year and was a keen area of focus during the offseason. Now in its first real test the reworked offensive line will see rookie left tackle Garett Bolles and fifth-year right tackle Menlik Watson go up against one of the best pass rushing duos in the NFL last year in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. In Bosa’s rookie year the Chargers’ duo accounted for 18.5 sacks tied for seventh in the NFL. The addition of Ronald Leary, a bonafide Pro Bowl caliber guard from Dallas, means at the very least the interior of the line should be an improvement on last year.
Will the real DT please stand up?
Despite going for over 1,000 yards for the fifth consecutive year, Demaryius Thomas was a shadow of his former self last season. After posting his lowest numbers in both receptions and yards since his 2011 Thomas will be looking to bounce back. Injuries plagued DT throughout 2016 and a healthy 2017 should see a return to form however questions remain over the Broncos number one receiver.
Will Mike McCoy exact revenge upon the Chargers?
Mike McCoy is unique in which he has played a significant part in the success and failures of both teams for almost the last 10 years. Although he didn’t make it as a head coach first time round with the then-San Diego Chargers, McCoy is well known as one of the greater offensive minds in the league. After turning Tim Tebow into a playoff winning quarterback he should have no problem turning former seventh round pick Trevor Siemian into a future Hall of Famer.
Baby No Fly Zone, all grown up?
If you would have told me back in June that TJ Ward would no longer be a Bronco there is no chance I would have believed you. However we are sitting in September, TJ is gone and second year player Justin Simmons is likely to start at strong safety with Darian Stewart staying at free safety according to the official depth chart. This is the first real change to the No Fly Zone since its inception and breakout season. The secondary remains one of the deepest and most talented in the league; it will be interesting to see if their dominance will continue.
Final Prediction: Broncos 23-13 Chargers
For more build up watch Brandon Perna preview the game here.
You can watch the game on Sky Sports Main Event / Action from 3am Tuesday morning or via NFL Game Pass. [Though, good luck with that.]