The way the NFL schedule works now, there is a Thursday night game every week during the season. Week 6 will see the San Diego Chargers (1-4) get their turn in front of a national television audience, and both they and the Denver Broncos (4-1) will be wearing their Color Rush uniforms for the game.
The Chargers are coming off yet another heartbreaking defeat, falling to the Oakland Raiders after an attempt to tie the game late in the fourth quarter came up empty when rookie punter Drew Kaser mishandled the snap from center on a field goal attempt. Oakland improved to 4-1 on the season, continuing the free fall for San Diego.
The Chargers fell to 1-4 with the loss and are already three games behind the leaders in the division, making Thursday night’s encounter with Denver a crucial game. San Diego has dropped the last five games against Denver. However, the last time they defeated them, it was on a Thursday night.
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According to Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post, Broncos starting quarterback Trevor Siemian will officially be listed as questionable heading into this game. But the Broncos will get back the services of right tackle Donald Stephenson and tight end Virgil Green.
Denver lost its first game of the season last week to the Atlanta Falcons, but Siemian sat out with a shoulder injury. Rookie Paxton Lynch stepped in and clearly wasn’t ready for the challenge as the Falcons defense harassed him all day.
The Chargers don’t want to hear about injuries though. There is no team that’s been dealt a worse hand in terms of the injury bug, so they won’t apologize for beating up on Lynch too should it come to that.
We asked the writers at Bolt Beat what they thought about his game and asked them to give us a prediction. You may surprised by how many of them still believe this Chargers team can win a game against one of the NFL’s elite teams.
Each writer’s record in predicting games for the season is in parenthesis.
Sean Begler (2-3): “Picking this game might be more difficult than people will have you believe. The Broncos defense might be as powerful as the Death Star, but there is still a weakness the Chargers can exploit. A thermal exhaust port, if you will. The Broncos have an average run defense. Thursday’s game is going to require Jedi focus out of Melvin Gordon to keep the offense moving. If Gordon can keep the Broncos thinking about the run, the Chargers can utilize some play action and get Hunter Henry, Travis Benjamin, and Tyrell Williams involved. The Chargers defense will hopefully have the likes of Denzel Perryman back. If so, the combination of Perryman and Jatavis Brown will make for a combination of solid middle field coverage and run stopping power. The Chargers defense might be week at corner with all the injuries, but the front seven might be better than we have seen in years. When facing off against a younger, less experienced quarterback in Trevor Siemian, pressure is the name of the game. The Chargers defense should give him a hard time all night and hopefully force some mistakes.The Broncos are coming off a loss to the Falcons and are hungry for a win, but the Chargers are desperate for one. Mike McCoy’s career as the Chargers head coach could rest on this game. McCoy’s locker room speech should sound something like this, “Help me Chargers. You’re my only hope.” Chargers will answer his call winning a game they have no right winning 23-17.”
Conor Denton (2-2):“I got a feeling guys. Now, I’ve been flying recently so I could be getting sick, but regardless it’s a feeling. Nothing would be more Chargers than to save their terrible coaches job (at least for a few weeks) by beating the Broncos on national television right? Right. I firmly believe if Bosa gets 50+ snaps the defense will hang in there enough to give Phil a shot down the stretch. Now I said a shot, not a win, however if the team is going to crash and burn like the Hindenburg then I’ll watch it as optimistically as I can. That means silver linings and overly confident predictions. As a result, I’m going with the Bolts and those color rush uniforms. Seriously, they are beautiful. 27-20 San Diego.”
Louis Gorini (4-1): “The Chargers’ backs are up against the wall and are in dire need of a win. McCoy is literally coaching for his job. If he wins, he survives a little longer. If he loses, he is out. Depending who you are, you might not like the outcome of Thursday’s game. The Broncos are coming off a short week, with an interim coach, a banged up/inexperienced starting quarterback, and are on the road. Somehow the Chargers pull the upset this week thanks to the desperation of the coaching staff and players. Melvin Gordon will have a nice game rushing the ball and our tight ends will work the middle of the field. Joey Bosa and the defense will stifle the run to keep the game a defensive battle. Chargers 24 Broncos 20.”
Bill Burgin (1-1):“The Chargers will win this one out of sheer desperation. It won’t be pretty, and I expect to see the Denver defense firing on all cylinders. However, I see the Chargers defense putting enough pressure on Siemain to get him to fold. Chargers 24-17.”
John Burress (1-4):“OK, time to put an end to this nonsense!!! I’ll pick the Broncos by 1 due to a “Holy Roller” type play that no one thinks could ever happen again but due to an electrical failure in the review booth the referees blew the call but couldn’t change it. That’s the only other way I think the Chargers could find to lose. Hopefully, by making this pick the Bolts will actually win!!! Broncos by 1.”
Matt Pagels (3-2): “It’s sad when you want to root against your team just so the head coach can get axed. The Chargers lost another close game last week against the Raiders and the team (and its fans) are hurting mentally. Can they rebound against another divisional opponent in the Denver Broncos? The Chargers are in every game and, dare I say it, I think they come away with a win on Thursday–but that means Mike McCoy will likely keep his job. Welp.”
Travis Wakeman (3-2): “So you’re alllllll on the Chargers, huh? (In my best Chris Berman voice). Well, almost all of you. Turns out, I’m not. Yes, the Broncos lost to Atlanta last week and looked quite vulnerable in the process. That result has obviously given hope to some of those in San Diego. I just don’t know how you can pick this team to win a game right now, particularly against a good team. The Broncos won’t have Gary Kubiak on the sidelines for this game and if Lynch is forced into action again, then the Chargers have a chance. But, I feel Siemian will play and the Broncos will atone for last week’s defeat. It won’t be easy and the Chargers will fight the Broncos until the bitter end, but it will be a bitter end. Broncos 20, Chargers 17.”
What do you guys think? Can the Chargers pull this one off? Or are you just frustrated with the team and not picking them until they prove they can win a game? Let us know in the comments section down below.