Just a few short weeks ago, we were lauding the Denver Broncos and their coach, Vance Joseph, for surviving the toughest 10-game stretch of schedule and emerging in position to capture a wild-card berth during a softer set of matchups to come.
Then, the 49ers came in and beat them. Then the Browns edged them by a point. Finally, the Raiders beat them soundly in Oakland.
Now, the team is uninspired and Vance Joseph must be the worst coach in history. Joseph, who started the season on the hot seat, has to be feeling the heat for sure. With a new veteran quarterback who his general manager cited as the best of the free agent class (ahead of Kirk Cousins) and a slew of impressive rookies, a winning season was the least fans could have expected.
The fact their slide coincides with the loss of leading receiver and team leader Emmanuel Sanders is largely forgotten.
Meanwhile, the Chargers are lamenting a missed opportunity to win the division title. They could be heading to a first-round bye and home field advantage if not for their brutal loss to the Ravens Saturday night.
They are still alive thanks to the Chiefs 38-31 loss to the Saints. But the Chiefs only have to beat the Raiders in Kansas City to push the Chargers to a wild-card game on the road, possibly against the same Ravens team.
Injuries and notes:
Austin Ekeler could be back for Week 17. The Chargers listed no new injuries this week.
The Broncos lost their extraordinary rookie Philip Lindsay to a serious wrist injury. Denver has no other new injuries but could get tight end Matt Lacosse back for this game.
Vance Joseph was almost fired after his first season, but John Elway gave him a mulligan citing poor quarterback play and offensive line injuries. Well, Joseph still got some poor quarterback play, with turnovers an ugly part of Case Keenum’s 2018 game.
But more was expected with what proved to be a potent running attack and a perennially strong defense.
Anthony Lynn’s season would be disappointing if the Chargers get knocked out of the playoffs early, but the job he did working through injuries to keep the Chargers at the top of the pack all season could be worthy of Coach of the Year consideration.
How to watch the Broncos-Chargers game
CBS Sports will send this broadcast to local affiliates, which means you can follow the live stream action on your favorite internet device via DirecTV Now.
DirecTV Now is a leading provider of internet television services. Along with Fubo TV and Sling, DirecTV Now carries the local and national networks you need to follow the NFL right through the playoffs.
In fact, you can watch all the action for free this weekend on DirecTV Now, Fubo TV, or Sling by taking advantage of their no-obligation trial offer.
When the game is over, check out the dozens of other movie and entertainment channels offered by DirecTV Now, Sling, and Fubo TV. You can catch all your favorite programs and the latest movies on your big flat screen TV or in the palm of your hand with just an internet connection.
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Who will win the Chargers-Broncos game?
Whenever you hear a coach might get fired, there is always the risk of an inspired game coming from the affected team. But the Broncos would have to be extremely inspired to get past a motivated Chargers team.
Final score: Chargers 26, Broncos 14