Broncos vs. Chargers: Game preview and score prediction for Week 12

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The Denver Broncos (5-5) will host the Los Angeles Chargers (6-4) in Week 12 of the 2021 NFL season on Sunday. Here’s our game preview and score prediction for the AFC West showdown.

Chargers’ keys to victory: The Broncos’ run defense has struggled lately, allowing the Eagles to rush for 216 yards in their most recent game. That’s great news for Los Angeles RB Austin Ekeler, who’s on pace to have the best season of his career this year. Chargers QB Justin Herbert had mixed results against Denver’s defense last year (four TDs, four sacks, two INTs and one fumble in two games), so L.A. should look to lean on the ground game and wear down the Broncos’ linebackers. On defense, stopping Denver’s rushing attack will be a point of emphasis for the Chargers.

Broncos’ keys to victory: Denver has split carries pretty evenly between RBs Melvin Gordon and Javonte Williams this season, and it’s worked well. Gordon is averaging 4.4 yards per carry, and Williams has averaged 5.0 yards. Broncos QB Teddy Bridgewater has done a good job protecting the ball this year, but he’s not going to beat a team with his arm. Sunday’s game is shaping up to be a run-heavy contest with Denver’s two-back duo leading the way.

Matchup to watch: Chargers WR Keenan Allen vs. Broncos CB Kyle Fuller. Allen is one of the top slot receivers in the NFL and one of Herbert’s favorite targets. Fuller started the season playing on the outside but he was recently moved inside due to injuries at the position. Fuller’s inexperience in the slot could be problematic going up against Allen.

Who wins? Historically tough to beat at home, the Broncos are just 2-3 in Denver this season with their only wins coming against the lowly Jets and Washington. That poor record combined with the fact that the Chargers’ offense looked brilliant in prime time last week makes Los Angeles a clear favorite. Chargers 27, Broncos 20.

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