Denver Broncos | News

Broncos vs. Chargers game predictions: Who the experts think will win in Week 18


In their final game of the season, the Broncos (4-12) will look to get their first win against an AFC West opponent. The Chargers (10-6) punched their ticket to the playoffs in Week 16, and it will be the first playoff appearance of quarterback Justin Herbert's career.

For Denver, getting a win in this final contest would allow the team to bring positive momentum into the offseason.

To get you ready for the big game, we rounded up score and spread predictions from NFL analysts.

BetMGM's model projects that the Chargers will win, with 64.0 percent confidence. The model factors in offensive and defensive matchups, recent games, key player performances from the season and injuries. Here is BetMGM's game overview with betting trends and more.

Historically, when the Broncos struggle for wins, they're still good at covering home spreads and remaining competitive within the division. Three of the Broncos' seven total ATS wins this season have come within the division — including a narrow cover against the Chargers in October — and they're just one ATS game under .500 (8-9) against divisional teams the last three seasons. Seven of their last eight divisional games have been decided by six or fewer points. I like the Broncos to win and cover as a 2.5-point (as of Thursday's NFL odds at BetMGM) home favorite. – Andrew Doughty

Projected score: Broncos 24, Chargers 21

If Baltimore loses in the early window, locking up the No. 5 seed for Los Angeles, head coach Brandon Staley has indicated he'll sit his players, presumably starting with Justin Herbert, Derwin James, Mike Williams, Keenan Allen and Joey Bosa. In other words, all the best Chargers. That gives the Broncos a great chance to win and subtly hurt the Seahawks' draft pick. It's the little things in a lost Broncos season. If the Ravens win early, flip the pick.

Projected score: Broncos 23, Chargers 15

Keep an eye on which Chargers lineup takes the field against the Broncos. Los Angeles could have its playoff seed locked in by kickoff, and if that's the case, some starters might rest. If so, Broncos QB Russell Wilson, who is on track for a career-low in touchdown passes and already has a career-high in sacks (53), has a better chance at ending the season on a high note. – Jeff Legwold

Moody's projected score: Chargers 23, Broncos 19

Walder's projected score: Chargers 20, Broncos 13

The Chargers are trying to get the fifth seed in the AFC, which they will do with a victory. Denver is playing for nothing. The Broncos played better last week against the Chiefs after firing Nathaniel Hackett, and I think they will show more of that here. The Broncos will hang around and possibly pull off the upset in this one.

Projected score: Chargers 28, Broncos 27

Austin Ekeler, however long he plays, and Joshua Kelley should run for enough yards to hold off Wilson, who has actually played better in two of his last three starts.

Pick: Chargers -2.5

The Chargers are rolling with their defense and the 1-2 punch of Justin Herbert and Austin Ekeler taking turns to lead the offense. Los Angeles is likely locked into the No. 5 seed and a favorable matchup with the AFC South champions.

Projected score: Chargers 23, Broncos 13

Bettors must be careful with this line because the Chargers may lock into the No. 5 seed before they kick off with the Broncos in the second slate of Sunday games. Suppose the Baltimore Ravens lose to the Cincinnati Bengals, which is highly possible with quarterback Lamar Jackson (sprained PCL) set to miss his fourth consecutive game. In that case, Los Angeles can look forward to a matchup with the winner of Saturday's contest between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans. – Maurice Moton

Projected score: Chargers 20, Broncos 17

The Broncos were mostly competitive against the Chiefs last week, and there's a chance they'll face backups here. I think they'll win one for ... Jerry Rosburg before turning their full attention to their head-coaching search.

Pick: Broncos -2.5

Related Content