NFL Picks: Chargers vs. Broncos ATS Pick

Jason Lake

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 7:43 PM GMT

What happens when you put the NFL’s best offense on the same field with the league’s worst defense? You get the Denver Broncos laying double digits to the San Diego Chargers on the Week 15 football lines.

Jason’s record on his final NFL picks for 2013, up to December 9 inclusive:

35-29-2 ATS

1-1 ML (+0.71 units)

8-14-1 Totals

They don’t make very many football teams like the Denver Broncos. With QB Peyton Manning at the helm, they’ve got one of the best offenses ever to grace a football field. Covering double-digit spreads? Not a problem; the Broncos (11-2 SU, 8-4-1 ATS) are 3-1-1 ATS this year when laying at least 10 points, as they will be this Thursday night when they host the San Diego Chargers (6-7 SU, 7-5-1 ATS). The NFL lines for Week 15 have Denver favored by 10.5 points, with the home team getting nearly 60 percent support on our consensus reports at press time.

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Maestro Fresh Wes

Manning has been in the NFL since 1998, and he’s won four league MVP awards and a Super Bowl, so we’ve seen him do good work before. But not quite like this. Manning is throwing for a career-high 347.8 yards per game, over 50 yards better than his previous best. That includes 778 yards to WR Wes Welker (73 catches, 10 TDs), who joined the team this past offseason to form a potent quartet with WR Demaryius Thomas, WR Eric Decker and TE Julius Thomas.

Funny, I seem to recall Welker transforming the New England Patriots offense when he and Randy Moss joined forces with Tom Brady in 2007. That offense was also one of the greatest in NFL history, allowing the Patriots to go undefeated at 10-6 ATS. Which makes it sad for me to tell you that Welker suffered a concussion in last week’s 51-28 victory over the Tennessee Titans (+13 away) and is unlikely to recover in time for Thursday Night Football (8:25 p.m. ET, NFLN).

Night on Chalk Mountain

Another thing about those 2007 Patriots: They started the season at 8-0 ATS before the NFL football lines started catching up to them. The Broncos have magically avoided that fate so far. Instead, they had that 0-3 ATS midseason slump that included the Week 6 matchup with the Jacksonville Jaguars, who nearly set an NFL betting record as 26.5-point underdogs. Denver has bounced back smartly at 5-1 SU and ATS over the past six games, covering double-digit spreads at home versus Tennessee and Washington (+11).

San Diego had little trouble blowing out the New York Giants by double digits last week, winning 37-14 as a 4-point home chalk. And the Chargers might be having another one of their patented late-season surges, taking two of the last three to halt their own 0-3 ATS streak. But that’s about where the similarities end between these AFC West rivals. Unless you include mirror images: The Bolts had the least efficient defense in the league heading into Week 14, and one of the five worst defenses since 1989, according to the statheads at Football Outsiders.

Also make sure to check out our:

NFL Picks: Week 15 Betting Odds Report

Prince Philip

In theory, the Chargers can still make the playoffs, and they’re treating Thursday night’s game as such. But in reality, it looks like another wasted season for QB Philip Rivers. He’s having a tremendous comeback campaign, leading the NFL with a stellar 70.3-percent completion rate and posting a career-best 106.4 passer rating. Rivers has also been sacked just 24 times this year, compared to 49 in 2012. That’s what adding a 6-foot-5, 340-pound offensive tackle like D.J. Fluker can do for your career.

The Chargers get something of a break this week from the weather gods, who are expected to deliver clear skies over Mile High Stadium on Thursday night, although the temperature will approach the freezing mark at kick-off. I’m sure the Chargers can handle it, but I don’t like their chances when it comes to handling Denver’s offense.

NFL Pick: Take the Broncos –10 at ABC Islands