Everything you need to know as the Denver Broncos (3-2) head west looking to get back to winning ways and sweep the Los Angeles Chargers (2-4) in 2017.
When does the party start?
Sunday October 22, StubHub Center, Carson, CA.
Kick-off 21:25 BST, 22:25 CEST
Where can I watch or listen?
Host TV broadcaster: CBS with Kevin Harlan and Rich Gannon on the call and Amanda Balionis on the sidelines.
UK and Ireland TV: NFL Game Pass
Other European TV: NFL Game Pass
Radio coverage: KOA Radio (850AM/94.1FM), The Fox (103.5FM) and local affiliates. Spanish language on KNRV (1150AM).
What’s the team news?
Fellow receiver Cody Latimer (knee) has not recovered from a knee injury, so wide receiver Hunter Sharp has been activated from the practice squad. Sharp was the Broncos’ second-leading receiver in preseason and will handle punt returns.
Rookie cornerback Brendan Langley will handle kickoff returns with wide receiver Jordan Taylor deputising on returns.
Linebacker and core special teamer Corey Nelson is another new long-term casualty, with the Broncos promoting Jerrol Garcia-Williams from the practice squad. Zaire Anderson will take Nelson’s work on defense, with Garcia-Williams set for work on special teams.
The Broncos placed offensive lineman Billy Turner (hand) on injured reserve, leaving them short-handed at right tackle after Menelik Watson and Donald Stephenson (both calf) were also ruled out. Allen Barbre switches from left guard to start at right tackle.
Quarterback Trevor Siemian took a knock to his non-throwing shoulder and star wide receiver Demaryius Thomas picked up a leg bruise last time out, but both will start against the Chargers.
Los Angeles Chargers: Star receiver Keenan Allen (shoulder) has been limited in practice this week, did not practice on Friday, and is officially listed as questionable, but is expected to go, as is running back Melvin Gordon (shoulder) who was also limited in practice.
Tackle Joe Barksdale (foot), safety Adrian Phillips (neck/concussion), and defensive tackle Corey Liuget (back) are also questionable.
Liuget was limited in practice Wednesday, but did not participate Thursday or Friday, while Barksdale has not practised all week.
Who should be on my fantasy team this week?
Broncos: If you have him, or can pick him up, roll with CJ Anderson. The more carries he gets, the more likely the Broncos are to win. The Chargers also have one of the worst run defences in the league, allowing 5.0 yards a carry. Anderson, who said this week he’s got to make more plays, could have a big day.
Chargers: Philip Rivers has plenty of weapons on offense. If the Chargers were paying attention, they’d have seen the blueprint from how the New York Giants used the size and speed of Evan Engram (6-3, 236lbs) to success. Big tight end Hunter Henry (6-5, 250) may not be as mobile as Engram, but will give the Broncos defense nightmares over the middle as he’s a mismatch for linebackers and safeties. Henry wasn’t targeted in week one at Mile High, but that could change this week.
What happened last time they met?
The Broncos scraped through 24-21 against the Chargers in the final seconds in week one back in September after giving up 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter.
In a dramatic finish, rookie kicker Younghoe Koo saw his game-tying field goal iced by the Broncos’ rookie head coach Vance Joseph. The follow-up effort was tipped by Shelby Harris to give the Broncos the win.
How did they get on last time out?
Broncos: It was a brutal outing for the Broncos on Sunday Night Football in what most people thought would be a simple win for the Broncos against an 0-5 team. Poor performance on all sides of the ball, coupled with a glut of injuries, saw them fall to an embarrassing 23-10 defeat against a receiverless New York Giants team.
The only touchdown came late in the game to tight end Jeff Heuerman, but it was scant consolation. Brandon McManus’s kicking woes continued as he missed two field goals, one of which was blocked. McManus has now missed five field goal attempts this season in as many games. He missed just five attempts in each of the last two seasons.
Chargers: Unlike the game in week one against the Broncos, a last-second field goal from veteran kicker Nick Novak was enough to scrape a 17-16 win against the Oakland Raiders to extend their winning streak.
What do the bookies make of the game?
Our man Paddy Power has the Broncos slight favourites at 4/5 for the win. The Chargers have drifted from 5/6 favourites to 21/20.
For a bit more value, consider the Broncos to win by 7-12 points at 5/1.
In the first touchdown market, CJ Anderson is 7/1, but there’s better value for Jamaal Charles and Devontae Booker at 13/1 and 16/1 respectively. Bennie Fowler, who had two scores when the two sides met in September, is 14/1.
The pessimists among you might fancy a punt on no touchdown scorer at 55/1.
Odds stated are correct at time of publication and subject to change.
The Broncos need to get back to running the ball, and often. When that happens good things happen. With a disrupted receiving corps, we expect them to lean on CJ and Jamaal Charles and scrape a win in another close game.
The Chargers like close games. They might be 2-4 this season after losing their first four games, but only one of those defeats has been by more than three points when they lost 24-10 to Kansas City in week three. Their two victories by one (Oakland Raiders) and seven points (New York Giants) have both come on the road.
With victory over the Chargers in week one this season, the Broncos are 65-50-1 all-time in the head-to-head series, including the AFC Divisional Game from the 2013 season.
When CJ Anderson gets at least 20 carries, the Broncos are undefeated this season. In the Broncos’ two defeats this season, Anderson had eight (Buffalo) and nine (New York Giants) carries respectively. The Chargers are allowing 5.0 yards average on the ground this season, second worst in the league.
The Chargers will wear their alternate “powder blue” uniforms against the Broncos for the first time since relocating to Los Angeles.