2013 NFL Divisional Round Game Four – Chargers @ Broncos
2013 NFL Divisional Round Game Four
Chargers Vs. Broncos
Where: Sports Authority Field, Denver, CO
When: Sunday, Jan 12th 4:40 Pm ET on CBS TV
2013 NFL Divisional Round Game Four – Breaking it down.
Perhaps the 2013 NFL Divisional Round Game Four should be billed as “The Great Keep Away Game”, because for the Chargers to have a chance they will need to duplicate exactly what they did in the two teams last meeting on Dec. 12th last year.
On the injury front:
The Chargers lost 11 players to the Injured Reserve list in 2013, and have 6 playes listed as questionable for the game.
Most notable is RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) & WR Eddie Royal (toe), but on the offensive line both the Center Nick Hardwick (stinger) and Tackle D.J. Fluker (ankle) were still listed as questionable on Friday.
The Broncos also lost 11 players to the Injured Reserve list in 2013, but their week off last week has helped them get back all but one player healthy for the game.
AVG. Points/Game (Rank) – Broncos 37.9 (#1), Chargers 24.9 (#13)
AVG. Yards/Play: (Rank)
Pass Attempt: Broncos 8.1 (#1), Chargers 7.9 (#2)
Rush Attempt: Chargers 4.1 (#19), Broncos 4.1 (#21)
Combined: Broncos 6.3 (#1), Chargers 5.9 (#5)
AVG Plays/Game: (Rank)
Pass: Broncos 42.2 (#2), Chargers 32.9 (#23)
Rush: Broncos 28.8 (#12), Chargers 30.9 (#4)
Combined: Broncos 72.2 (#1), Chargers 65.7 (#12)
When an offense is #1 in average points scored per game, average yards gained per play & average number of plays run per game, there’s a very good chance that they will be the #1 ranked team in the league.
The Broncos offense has broken many records this year, as any fan of the NFL has undoubtedly heard. They have scored an average of almost two touchdowns per game more than San Diego.
Based upon that, the winner of this game should obviously be the Broncos, and yet the Chargers offense in the Dec. 12th game kept the ball for almost double Denver’s time of posession. So why did they only win by a touchdown?
They rushed 44 times vs. 20 pass attempts. They run as often as they pass, but in that game they rushed more than double their pass attempts. Rushing not only kills the clock, it requires teams to complete more plays to gain an equal amount of yards.
I don’t see this strategy working this Sunday. The reason is simple. The Broncos and Chargers personel has changed in significant ways, both on offense and defense, and the game tape corrections will negate that approach.
AVG Points Allowed/Game (Rank) – Chargers 21.9 (#9), Broncos 24.9 (#22)
AVG. Yards Allowed/Play: (Rank)
Pass Attempt: Broncos 6.6 (#15), Chargers 7.5 (#30)
Rush Attempt: Broncos 3.9 (#8), Chargers 4.6 (#28)
Combined: Broncos 5.3 (#16), Chargers 6.1 (#30)
The Chargers defense has been one of the worst in the league this year, but they have, like the Broncos, gotten back some key people toward the end of the year. The Broncos got back Wes Welker, their third down specialist, who was out with a concussion during the last meeting.
They also got Champ Baily back in the defensive secondary, and that is a much bigger deal than most observers may think. Bailey is roaming free in the backfield since his return, and playing that role could extend his playing time several more years. It also allows him the freedom to make game changing plays all over the field.
This game was the easiest game for me to pick this weekend. Broncos with a win at home, but I don’t expect a blowout.