Sat, 29 Jan 2022

Chris Hayre

Below are 10 quick-hitting insights ahead of the Chargers' Week 12 matchup against the Denver Broncos:

1) Brandon Staley is set to face his mentor and former boss, Broncos head coach Vic Fangio this Sunday. Staley spent two seasons with Fangio in Chicago as the outside linebackers coach before holding the same title under Fangio in his lone season in Denver in 2019. In addition, defensive coordinator Renaldo Hill makes his return to Denver, having spent two seasons as defensive backs coach from 2019-20.

2) Sunday also marks the return of cornerback Chris Harris Jr. He was on injured reserve during the team's Week 8 trip to Denver last season. In nine seasons with the Broncos, Harris Jr. was a four-time Pro Bowler, a First-Team All-Pro in 2016, and a Super Bowl Champion.

3) The Chargers are seeking their first 3-0 start in the AFC West in 25 years. The 1996 Chargers were coached by Bobby Ross and quarterbacked by Stan Humphries. The Seattle Seahawks were in the division, too.

4) A win Sunday would also give Los Angeles six straight wins in the AFC West - with two victories each against the Broncos, Chiefs and Raiders - dating back to last season.

5) In his last five games in the division, quarterback Justin Herbert is 116-of-172 for 1,372 yards, with 13 passing touchdowns, zero turnovers and a pair of rushing scores.

6) Coming off a career-high four total touchdowns, running back Austin Ekeler will return to his home state of Colorado this Sunday. Like Harris Jr., Ekeler missed last season's game in Denver with injury. He's scored a touchdown in each of his last two games at Empower Field at Mile High.

7) Per NFL Media Research: Ekeler and Colts running back Jonathan Taylor are the only two players in the league with over 900-plus scrimmage yards and 12-plus total touchdowns. Entering Week 12, Ekeler is the only player in the NFL with five-plus receiving and rushing touchdowns.

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8) Wide receiver Keenan Allen has 74 receptions this season, trailing only the Rams' Cooper Kupp and the Chiefs' Tyreek Hill. The Broncos haven't allowed a wide receiver to have more than five receptions in a game since Week 2, according to NFL Media Research.

9) Winning in Denver is a challenge: The Chargers have dropped seven of their last eight road games to the Broncos. Their last win was a 23-9 victory in Week 17 of the 2018 season. Denver is 2-3 at home this season, having lost three of its last four.

10) A win Sunday would move the Chargers into first place in the tight AFC West at 7-4, having an early tiebreaker with the Kansas City Chiefs. In addition to a 3-0 division record, a victory would also give Los Angeles its fifth conference win.

*Stats and information courtesy of Pro Football Reference and Chargers Communications unless otherwise noted.

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