Thursday, October 15, 2009

Week 6 Pick: Most Interesting Game

Any other year, I would have considered Panthers/Bucs to be a very interesting game. The Panthers have at least won one game so far, and should improve, but the Bucs are pretty much just garbage these days. Falcons/Bears definitely caught my eye, but the game I really consider most interesting is:

Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers

Over/Under: 44
Line: Chargers by 3

My Thoughts:
I'm absolutely flabbergasted that San Diego is favored in this game. I know they're home, but just trusting what my eyes have shown me through 5 weeks, Denver has simply been the better team. How a 2-2 team is favored over their 5-0 division leader is beyond me. The Chargers have been maddeningly inconsistent on both sides of the ball, and the defense has been particularly weak. Denver has surprised everyone, and is really playing good football in all phases.

Is Kyle Orton a better quarterback than Philip Rivers? Not a chance, but Denver has shown much better balance on offense than San Diego. Corell Buckhalter and Knowshon Moreno have been very solid, whereas Ladainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles have looked good in spots, but haven't delivered with any consistency or in big spots. Frankly, Denver has the better receivers as well. I'll take Brandon Marshall and Eddie Royal over Vincent Jackson and Chris Chambers any day. The tight end edge definitely goes to the Chargers, but I don't think that's what makes the difference in this game.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Broncos have been outstanding. Mike Nolan has completely transformed that underachieving unit into a dominating force. Their pass rush is great, and the secondary is top notch with the leadership of Champ Bailey and Brian Dawkins. The Chargers, on the other hand, have been very disappointing on defense so far. Shawne Merriman still looks sluggish coming back from his knee surgery, and as a result, the whole team's pass rush has struggled. Antonio Cromartie still has not returned to his 10-interception form of 2 years ago, Clinton Hart has been released, and no one else in the secondary has been markedly intimidating.

I expect this game to be very competitive, and the home field advantage will definitely help keep the Chargers in this one. However, I think Denver's balance and defense help them edge this one out in the end.

Broncos 24
Chargers 20


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