NFL boff Louis Ross (@LouisRoss67) returns with a best bet from Thursday night’s action.
Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers | 01:25 Friday | Sky Sports 1
Philip Rivers must surely have taken notice of the big shock that Week 5 had in store for us, as Matt Ryan managed to put 30 points on the fearsome Denver defence. The win for Atlanta was not completely unexpected but the margin of victory was not something any of us anticipated.
The way you look at this match-up will depend an awful lot on how you see that result. Was it an indication that Von Miller and the rest are not quite the beast they were on the way to Super Bowl glory last year, or a blip to be put right as soon as possible?
Atlanta are one of just two teams averaging over 30 points a game this season and it is much easier to see last Sunday’s game as one of those things. I believe it had a lot to do with Gary Kubiak’s offence failing in a big way. That meant the Broncos defensive unit being unable to get off the field for any length of time.
Rookie quaterback Paxton Lynch was sacked a total of six times on Sunday. The return of Trevor Siemian under centre and Donald Stephenson to the problem right tackle position should ensure Denver are able to provide more of an aerial threat against the leagues 28th best passing defence.
That in turn, will open up running lanes for CJ Anderson and rookie Devontae Booker. San Diego has managed to defend the run really well this season, allowing just 83.4 yards per-game. That ranks eighth in the NFL and should be considered when looking at lines for both Anderson and Booker.
San Diego coach Mike McCoy will be incredibly disappointed with a 1-4 start having managed to blow two 13-point, fourth quarter leads.
Philip Rivers will look back on a wasted career in southern California; a supremely talented quarterback consistently let down by his team. To be fair to the Chargers, they have actually done well to be so close in games this year considering the loss to injury of Keenan Allen, Stevie Johnson and Danny Woodhead.
This fixture has seen 10 wins in a row for Denver, the longest active streak in the entire NFL but the Chargers will go into Thursday night with reasonable hopes of ending that run. I will sit down to watch expecting the opposite outcome and that run to stretch to 11 games.
Coach Kubiak will be absent tonight through illness and I would think his team will fight for him. Rivers is an elite quarterback, but even the best normally struggle to beat Aqib Talib and Chris Harris the best pair of corners in the NFL. Von Miller will get through that Chargers offensive line more than once.
I have to return to San Diego’s biggest issue and that is a pass defence that cannot stop the pass. Big games beckon for Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders and Thomas can score for a fourth successive game at odds of 23/20 (Bet365).
Most of the lines around this game have settled on a 3.5 handicap but I prefer -3 as offered by William Hill at odds of 10/11. Most bookmakers will see a 3-point win as a push (check rules).
Thursday Night Football never seems to offer anything but really tight games. This is no different but Denver has a point to prove and I can see the defending champions making their mark tonight in a game that could affect their entire season.
Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers – Denver Broncos -3 handicap (10/11 William Hill)
Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers – Demaryius Thomas to score a touchdown at anytime (23/20 Bet365)