The Los Angeles Chargers got a break after a Week 16 home stumble to the Baltimore Ravens on Saturday night. The Chargers followed up their huge Week 15 win at the Kansas City Chiefs with a flat, 22-10, loss to the Baltimore Ravens. The stalwart Baltimore defense stifled Philip Rivers and the rest of the strong Chargers’ offense at home.
However, the Chargers got a break the following night when the Chiefs fell at Seattle. Kansas City is still in the driver’s seat, though. If the heavily-favored Chiefs beat the Oakland Raiders at home Sunday afternoon, they will win the AFC West division and be the No. 1 overall seed.
But the Chargers can take both the division and the home-field advantage with a win at the Denver Broncos on Sunday coupled with a Chiefs’ upset defeat. Both games start at the same time. The Chargers, 11-4, can do no worse than be the No. 5 seed in the AFC playoffs in their first postseason appearance since 2013.
Week 17 is always a strange week for NFL betting. This is one of those weird games. The Chargers might have something to play for depending on what is going on in Kansas City at the same time. The Broncos have nothing to play for.
But the key is the game will start with the Chargers being motivated to win for the division and home-field advantage sakes. So, expect the Chargers to be focused and determined to win. Also, the Chargers are pretty healthy.
Receiver Keenan Allen and running Melvin Gordon should have better health than they were last week against Baltimore. Also, key backup running back Austin Ekeler should also be healthy enough to play. Even if Kansas City blows out Oakland, I’d expect the Chargers to keep their starters in, at least, through halfway through the third quarter.
The lifeless Broncos were hammered by Oakland in Week 16. It’s the same Oakland team that was outplayed in every games this season, even in its previous three victories. Denver coach Vance Joseph will likely be fired immediately or the game Sunday or on Monday morning. Will Denver show up at home with some pride for their coach?
The over/under is not high at 41.5 points. And it’s for a reason. Even though, it’s a light number, there’s hints why this may be an under game. First, Denver isn’t scoring much these days. It has scored 44 points combined in the past three games. Plus, standout running back Phillip Lindsay is out with a wrist injury.
Also, the Chargers may call off the dogs early if Kansas City is taking care of business against the Raiders. And there is some history that indicates the under is the right call. Eight of the Chargers’ last 10 division games have gone under. All five of Denver’s division games this season have gone under.
My thoughts here go along with my entire theme to this game —motivation. The Chargers will want to start fast and pull away from this game. Denver is just playing out the string. The Chargers should come out with a big purpose on both sides of the ball.
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