We close out another week of NFL action with a terrific AFC West battle happening at Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego, California), the site for tonight’s edition of Monday Night Football.
First place in the division will be on the line this evening when the (2-3) Denver Broncos and the (3-2) San Diego Chargers collide in primetime. We have the latest MNF odds and point spreads heading into this one as well as my Monday Night Football picks and predictions for this week.
For starters, NFL odds makers list the hosting Chargers [-1] as betting favorites by the smallest of margins over the Broncos [+1], and the OVER/UNDER is set at a combined total of 47½ points.
By the looks of it, this MNF matchup has all the ingredients of a typical trap-game in terms of betting against the spread.
For one, Denver’s ATS numbers are not only atrocious (that being kind), but the San Diego’s ATS figures just happen to be the complete opposite. For example, the only good statistic for the visitors tonight is the fact that they’re 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games versus AFC West opponents.
But in reality, that’s all you need to know, because all these other “against the spread” stats — such as the fact that they’re 4-10 ATS in their last 14 games after allowing more than 150 rushing yards rushing, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards, 6-16 ATS in their last 22 road games vs. a team with a winning home record, 3-8 ATS in their last 11 games overall, 2-6 ATS in their last 8 games after accumulating less than 90 rushing yards, etcetera — are simply misleading and are not even worth studying.
Truth is that, the 2012 Broncos are a new squad, with a Hall of Fame quarterback with plenty left in the tank, and a revamped attitude towards winning ballgames. And the best part about it, at least for Broncos fans, is that this team is still working on putting it all together for a full 48 minutes.
Tonight, everyone will see all that hard work pay off, as Denver faces a Chargers team that’s more vulnerable than their record and statistics indicate.
Sure, Norv Turner has done a good job with this team, like he usually does. However, they’re nowhere near as good as they once were, and unfortunately, their time to win a Super Bowl has passed them by.
For example, the Chargers’ offense, which has been their bread and butter over the last five years or so, is merely average at best in 2012.
Heading into week 6, the Bolts rank 14th in points scored per game (25), 24th in total yards (335) and 17th in both the passing game (231) and on the ground (103). But that’s not their only problem tonight against Denver this evening.
As much as their defense has improved through the years, including some respectable numbers this season, their style (this year) appears to be tailor-made for Manning to completely pick apart.
In week 6, the Bolts’ “D” ranks 13th in points allowed per game (20), 12th in total yards surrendered (334) and a cool 3rd in rushing yards permitted per contest (74).
While all those numbers are very impressive, here’s the one statistic that will lead to this team’s demise tonight: Out of 32 NFL teams, they rank 22nd defending the pass, yielding 260 aerial yards per game!
With those numbers, Manning is sure to throw for well over 300 yards tonight and three touchdowns. But, Manning will not be the only beneficiary in this one, and in fact that’s not even the key to victory tonight.
Because just as the passing game gets going is when the wheels will really start spinning, as it ill allow No.18 to audible at the line and let running back Willis McGahee play smash-mouth football by running it up the gut.
In other words, this could be a very long night for Chargers defensive coordinator, John Pagano, as he faces one of the best on-the-field offensive coordinators the game of football has ever seen.
Sure, Manning has struggled against the Chargers defense in the past. But, the biggest difference is that he now has an effective running game to mix into the play-calling this time around. Thus, I would play the Broncos at +1, if I were you.
All the hard-hitting MNF action kicks off at 8:45 p.m. EDT and it’ll be broadcasted live on ESPN. Also keep in mind that you can subscribe to receive the latest news, predictions and picks, from yours truly, delivered right to your personal e-mail account!
How do you see this Broncos-Chargers Monday Night Football game playing out tonight?