San Diego Chargers vs. Denver Broncos: Spread Info, Line and Predictions

Matt FaulconerFeatured ColumnistOctober 7, 2011

SAN DIEGO, CA - OCTOBER 02:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers scrambles against the Miami Dolphins at Qualcomm Stadium on October 2, 2011 in San Diego, California.    The Chargers won 26-16.  (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

The San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos square off in what will be a pivotal early season division game.

The Broncos have been struggling early in the season and are getting one step close to having to bring in Tim Tebow, while the Chargers are off to a fast start for the first time in years.

The Chargers will be hoping to build their lead on first place with a victory over the Broncos, while Denver will be hoping to claw their way back into the thick of things.

Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High (Denver, Colorado)

When: Sunday, October 9 at 4:15 p.m. EST

Watch: DirecTV 714, CBS

Listen: Sirius 85 (San Diego), Sirius 94 (Denver)

Betting Line: San Diego Chargers (-4), according to

The trends don't exactly favor either of these teams, as the Chargers are just 1-5 in their last six games against the spread. However, they are 4-1 straight up in their last five games.

On the other hand, the Broncos are just 8-17 against the spread in their last 25 games at home and just 5-11 against the spread in their last 16 games overall.

To make matters worse, the Broncos are just 2-9 straight up in their last 11.

However, the most telling statistic is that the Chargers are 4-1 in their last five trips to Denver.

With just a four-point line to cover, your money should be on the Chargers in this one, as they are the much better team.

Who Might Not Play for San Diego:

Luis Castillo DE Tibia Did Not Participate In Practice
Jacques Cesaire DE Knee Did Not Participate In Practice
Antonio Gates TE Foot Did Not Participate In Practice
Vincent Jackson WR Hamstring Did Not Participate In Practice
Quentin Jammer CB Illness Did Not Participate In Practice
Nick Hardwick C Neck Full Participation in Practice

Who Might Not Play for Denver:

Brian Dawkins S Ankle Did Not Participate In Practice
Rahim Moore S Illness Did Not Participate In Practice
Eddie Royal WR Groin Did Not Participate In Practice
Demaryius Thomas WR Finger Did Not Participate In Practice
Julius Thomas TE Ankle Did Not Participate In Practice
Jonathan Wilhite CB Illness Did Not Participate In Practice
Champ Bailey CB Hamstring Full Participation in Practice
Knowshon Moreno RB Hamstring Full Participation in Practice
Marcus Thomas DT Groin Full Participation in Practice
Daniel Fells TE Knee Limited Participation in Practice

Injury reports courtesy of

Key Storyline: Will Tim Tebow see the field?

Tim Tebow is the most hyped player on the Broncos roster, but doesn't get the opportunity to see the field much.

Tebow has yet to throw a pass this season and has just one rush for -1 yards.

Kyle Orton has struggled this year with an 80.9 QB rating and six interceptions through four games. If he continues to struggle, this could be the week that Tebow finally sees the field.

What They're Saying:

According to ESPN, the Broncos are going to need to limit allowing the Chargers the ability to run after the catch or they will be in trouble this weekend.

The Denver Broncos’ defense must do all it can to keep the Chargers’ receivers in check after they catch the ball. San Diego’s’ receivers are strong after the catch and the Broncos’ defense has been one of the worst in the NFL in allowing yards after the catch. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Denver has allowed 96 catches that involved yards after the catch. It has allowed 556 yards after the catch in four games for an 8.4-yard average per catch.

ESPN also points out the success that the Chargers have had at Mile High Stadium as of late.

Since 2006, the Chargers have scored 179 points in five games in Denver. Their lowest output in that stretch is 32 points. The Chargers are 4-1 in their past five trips to Denver.

Player to Watch for San Diego Chargers: Vincent Jackson

The Denver Broncos are currently allowing over seven catches per game to opposing No. 1 WRs so this could be a huge week for Jackson.

They are only giving up 64 yards to No. 1 WRs, but Greg Jennings was able to pick up over 100 yards last week. In previous weeks, the Broncos faced teams that lacked an elite No. 1 WR in the Cincinnati Bengals and Oakland Raiders.

However, Champ Bailey may be making his return this week, so it will be interesting to see if the dominance exerted by No. 1 WRs will continue.

Player to Watch for Denver Broncos: Kyle Orton

Everyone knows that Tim Tebow is a fan favorite in Denver, so with this game taking place at Mile High Stadium, it will be interesting to see how Orton plays.

If Orton struggles, the boo birds will likely reign down on him and we will likely be another step close to the Tebow era in Denver.

Key Matchup: Denver secondary vs. Philip Rivers

Denver was torched by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers last week as Rodgers topped 400 yards passing in last week's matchup.

If the Denver secondary can't slow down Rivers, the Chargers will likely run away with this game.

Prediction: San Diego 27, Denver 17