The Denver Broncos face off against the Los Angeles Chargers for the final time in 2019. For the last time in 2019, I chat with Tyler Schoon from Bolt Beat.
Both the Denver Broncos and Los Angeles Chargers have dealt with a lot of hardship this season. Looking up on the Oakland Raiders and Kansas City Chiefs is probably something neither team expected. I am certain the Chargers did not think that.
Both teams come into this contest looking to get some momentum back. The Chargers are fresh off a bye week while the Broncos need to bounce back from a heart breaker in Minnesota and a thrashing at the hands of the Bills out of their bye.
Philip Rivers has just a few more games left until he becomes an unrestricted free agent. Could this be the final game that the Broncos face off against him after 13 years?
I decided to go behind enemy lines to the Chargers side one final time this season to talk with Tyler Schoon from Bolt Beat. Here is what he had to say about the state of the Los Angeles Chargers.
PO: The Chargers have been up and down this season. What has been your takes on this team in their first eleven games?
BB: Last time we spoke, the story of the season was injuries. And in many ways, it still is. Do the Chargers fold in Oakland with Russell Okung back at left tackle for the entire game? Does Travis Kelce get his first career touchdown against the Chargers if Derwin James is out on the field? But now the focus has shifted to Philip Rivers, and he's been costing them games.
On one hand, he's the guy who led the Chargers to almost 450 yards of offense against the Chiefs. On the other hand, he's also making the bone-headed mistakes a veteran quarterback should not be making, and had four interceptions in that very game. This is also not new for Rivers this season, as he made critical errors against the Lions and Steelers earlier in the year on game-losing drives.
The defense has played about as well as it could have during their first 11 games, recently limiting both Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers to just 343 passing yards and two touchdowns between the two of them. The health of the team and the defense are about as good as it could be given how far into the season the team is, now it's all on No. 17 to put it together and try to make a playoff push in what could be his last season with the Chargers.
PO: Los Angeles is currently 4-7 on the season. Do you believe this team has a chance of reaching the postseason despite their current standings?
BB: The Chargers absolutely have a chance to make the postseason, and have with a 9-7 record before. In Anthony Lynn's first season, the 9-7 Chargers would have made the playoffs if not for a collapse by another team allowing the Buffalo Bills to make it instead.
On a game-by-game prediction basis, I would pick the Chargers to win each time. But it is very difficult in the NFL to win five straight, and the Chargers will also need other AFC teams to lose in order to sneak into the postseason. They have a chance, and it would surprise no one if the Chargers ran the table, as the team is 8-2 in December under Lynn.
PO: What are you hoping to see out of this team in their final five games of the 2019 regular season?
BB: Should the season be lost, I am looking for players with health concerns who are seeking new contracts soon to play well and remain healthy. Players like Hunter Henry, Austin Ekeler, and Adrian Phillips have varying levels of health concerns heading into contract years. The team has plenty of cap space in 2020 to re-sign these players, but they must be careful in choosing who they would like to extend and who to move on from.
PO: The Chargers travel to Denver to finish their season series against the Broncos. What do you believe it will take to get the win in Mile High?
BB: It's going to take mistake-free football for the Chargers to beat the Broncos on the road. Personally, I don't believe the Broncos are going to win this game. The last time the two met, the Chargers were down Okung, Adrian Phillips, and Derwin James, three Pro-Bowl players on offense, special teams, and defense, respectively.
Not only that, but this was Melvin Gordon's first game back from his holdout, which turned out to be a multi-game nightmare for the Chargers. This time around, all three players appear to be set to return from injury, and the Gordon-Ekeler combo is the most consistent part of this team right now.
What I'm getting at is this: The Chargers are simply more talented, and all they have to do is not mess it up. However, as the entire season has shown us, the Chargers have the potential to completely blow games they should have won.
PO: Which player on the current roster that not a lot of fans know about could be the X-Factor on Sunday?
BB: Brandon Facyson, should be be the starter opposite Casey Hayward, is the lesser-known guy to watch this week. With Michael Davis suspended for the next two games, Facyson will once again have to fill in, as he did for the team's first three games of the season while Davis was injured. Most of the defense is capable of doing its job, but Facyson fresh off the bench could make for an easy target for whomever the Broncos start on Sunday.
Thank You Tyler for taking the time out to chat with me. If you want to see Tyler's questions for me, go over to Boltbeat.com.