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Week 17: San Diego vs. Denver Preview & Free Pick

San Diego Chargers vs Denver Broncos Free Week 17 NFL Football Pick

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Week 17: Chargers at Broncos Matchup Handicapping Analysis

It’s Week 17 of the 2010 NFL Football season and veteran sportswriter Matt Martz will preview all of the weekly AFC West match ups throughout the season, providing some insight to help make your NFL football wagers winners. Check back every week for your complete source for NFL football gambling right here on CappersPicks.com.

Date/Time: Sunday, January 2, 4:15PM ET
Venue: INVSECO Field at Mile High in Denver, CO.
Broadcast: CBS
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos Betting Lines from Bookmaker.com
Money Line: San Diego (-180) Denver (+155)
Spread: San Diego -3 ½
Over/Under: 47
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San Diego (8-7) travels to Denver on Jan. 2 to take on the Broncos (4-11) in the season finale for both teams.

These AFC West teams have been big disappointments.  The Chargers started 2-5 and rallied back to respectability but will be missing the playoffs for the first time since 2005.  The Broncos fired coach Josh McDaniels in early December and are 1-2 under interim coach Eric Studesville.  One more loss would give Denver the most losses in franchise history.

Things aren’t all bad for the Broncos.  They may have found their quarterback for the future in Tim Tebow, who has done a fine job in starting the last two games.  Tebow will get a third straight start Sunday, even though former starter Kyle Orton is healthy enough to play after being bothered by sore ribs.

Tebow helped Denver end a five-game losing streak with a 24-23 victory over Houston last week.  Tebow went 16 of 29 for 308 yards with one touchdown and an interception, and he ran six yards for the winning TD with 3:02 to play. Tebow provides the Broncos with much more mobility than Orton, having run for 27 yards last week after gaining 78 in his first career start against Oakland.  So look for the Denver offense to run through Tebow’s able hands, with Knowshon Moreno (738 yards) providing the other ground threat.

Denver has one of the worst defenses in the league.  The Broncos can’t stop the run or the pass and will be hard-pressed to slow down the Charger air attack.  The best strategy for Denver is to control the ball and keep its defense off the field.

The Chargers have one of the best passing games in the NFL behind quarterback Philip Rivers, who has thrown for 4,397 yards and 30 touchdowns so far this season.  His top target is dynamic tight end Antonio Gates, who has caught 50 passes for 782 yards and 10 scores.  The Charger ground game hasn’t been as solid as in recent years, but Mike Tolbert and Ryan Matthews are quality runners who keep defenses honest.  Matthews, especially, has the talent to break big runs and he is finally healthy after suffering from ankle injuries much of the year.

But the biggest challenge for Tebow and the Broncos will be the Charger defense, which is the top-ranked unit in the NFL.  San Diego gives up just 267 yards per game and also leads the league in passing defense.  A back seven led by Eric Weddle and Quentin Jammer should give Tebow fits in the passing game.

Can Tebow continue his late-season renaissance against the Chargers?  Will San Diego be ready for the new style that Tebow presents?  Most likely, the Charger defense will be prepared, thought Tebow’s mobility could give them problems.  San Diego is favored by 3.5 points with a total of 47.  Look for the wheels to come off the Tebow train just a little this week and for the Chargers to roll.

Matt’s Free Prediction: San Diego 35, Denver 21

Matt Martz is a sports writer for the Bakersfield Californian, the Oregonian, and Utah Spectrum. Blessed is the gambler who expects nothing, for ye shall not be disappointed.

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