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Mile High Roundtable: Broncos vs. Chargers | Week 12 | Predictions & Picks

The Mile High Huddle staff weighs in on what version of the Broncos emerges from the bye.

The problem with average NFL teams is that you never know what you're going to get. One week, a middling team like the Denver Broncos could be blowing out the Dallas Cowboys on the road and the next, surrendering 30-plus points to the Philadelphia Eagles at home. 

Who the Sam Hill knows what version of the Broncos will show up this week at home vs. the Los Angeles Chargers? Mile High Huddle's staff has an opinion but we'd be lying to you if we were to say we know what's going to happen. 

Let's go around the table to get this week's Broncos-Chargers predictions and picks. 

Kenneth Booker (@KennethMHH) 7-3: Defensively, look for Denver's pass rush, and offensively, the running game, to be the deciding factor. The pass rush needs to keep Justin Herbert uncomfortable and minimize the Chargers' third-down conversions. The Broncos' ground game must be effective in order to chew up the clock, move the chains, and curtail Herbert's chances of developing a rhythm. If Denver can be successful in these areas, it has a good chance of squeaking out a victory. 

Pick: Broncos 23, Chargers 20

James Campbell (@JamesC_MHH) 6-4: The Broncos are a hard team to figure out, coming off an ugly loss to Philadelphia but the Chargers are a good team by a lot of offensive metrics and a bad one by a lot of defensive metrics. Coming off the bye, hopefully, the Broncos are healthier and better able to implement their game plan in all three phases. Justin Herbert is a star QB in the league and it could be a long day for the defense. Ultimately, the Broncos play hard but fall agonizingly short.

Pick: Chargers 23, Broncos 17

Keith Cummings (@KeithC_NFL) 4-6: Herbert could give this listing Denver defense some serious issues. Will the Broncos risk Bradley Chubb in order to manufacture some QB pressure? It's doubtful but not impossible. Issues continue to persist on offense with Teddy Bridgewater so it's very hard to see how the Broncos keep up if they fall behind, which they do in this one and fail to rally. 

Pick: Chargers 31, Broncos 10

Thomas Hall (@ThomasHallNFL) 6-4: The Broncos are a tough team to trust week in and week out. Denver could come out and whip the Chargers or lay another egg. If the Broncos can stick to the running game, they have a chance to win, but history has shown they give up on the run far too early. This will be another game where that happens just as soon as the Chargers get an early lead.

Pick: Chargers 30, Broncos 17

Zach Hicks (@HicksZach2) 4-6: The Broncos are in must-win mode the rest of the season. With a big matchup coming up with the Chargers, the team needs to be firing on all cylinders to come away with the victory. Ultimately, I don’t see Bridgewater and the offense being able to match Herbert on the other end.

Pick: Chargers 34, Broncos 20

Chad Jensen (@ChadNJensen) 5-5: This is not the game where the Broncos turn the ship around. Herbert will jump out to a multi-score lead, only this time, there's no quarterback with the uncocked firepower of Drew Lock to furiously storm back. Denver will struggle to pressure Herbert, however, Patrick Surtain II will come up with a big interception in this game. Sadly, it won't avail the Broncos. 

Pick: Chargers 28, Broncos 17

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Zack Kelberman (@KelbermanNFL) 5-5: As to not bury the lede, I'm picking the Chargers. Which, naturally, means the Broncos will pull off the home upset. But my confidence in Denver is at zero following its pre-bye showing against Philadelphia. The only chance they have is to stifle Herbert or keep pace with him. That means relying upon Vic Fangio and Bridgewater, and ... I just can't bring myself to it. 

Pick: Chargers 24, Broncos 21

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Nick Kendell (@NickKendellMHH) 5-5: Which Broncos team will show up this week? With Denver’s running game looking like it’s really clicking over the last few weeks and the Chargers fielding one of the worst run defenses in the league, the Broncos should have a chance. It really comes down to whether Denver can slow down Herbert. If Denver’s defense, which is currently rated as a bottom-10 unit via Football Outsider’s DVOA, can't let the Chargers come out in the first half and score points with ease like what happened versus the Eagles, Denver can win this game. Alas, Bridgewater is limited and Herbert might be simply too good. Denver can run the ball and Teddy can limit turnovers, but that isn’t enough if the Broncos' defense isn’t playing at a high level. 

Pick: Chargers 26, Broncos 16

Bob Morris (@BobMorrisSports) 5-5: The Chargers have a great offense, but their defense isn't as good (mainly because they don't have all the personnel for Brandon Staley's defensive scheme) and their special teams is actually worse than the Broncos. This makes me wonder if there's going to be a lot of scoring. That means the Broncos need to own the time of possession and run a ball-control offense to have a chance at a win. The question is whether Denver will call plays or execute to get it done. Color me skeptical that happens. 

Pick: Chargers 30, Broncos 20

Luke Patterson (@LukePattersonLP) 6-4: The Broncos offense has to run the ball against the Chargers, whose defense is the worst in the league at stopping the run. The problem with that is, the running game isn't exactly Pat Shurmur’s M.O. Fangio's defense will likely be picked apart by Herbert.

Pick: Chargers 24, Broncos 20 

Lance Sanderson (@SandersonMHH) 5-5: The biggest key to this game is ball control. The Chargers have the worst run defense in the league, which opens up a big opportunity for the Broncos to condense the game, control the clock and keep Herbert and the explosive Chargers offense off the field. L.A. doesn't need a lot of time to score, so limiting the chances it possesses the football is critical if Denver wants to eke out a much-needed victory.

Pick: Broncos 23, Chargers 21

Erick Trickel (@ErickTrickel) 5-5: The Broncos actually match up well against the Chargers on both sides of the ball. If Denver can limit the explosive plays on defense and commit to the run against the worst rushing defense in the NFL, it could walk away with the win. However, the habit of shooting themselves in the foot will likely continue causing the Broncos to emerge with a sixth loss on the season. 

Pick: Chargers 24, Broncos 20

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