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For Denver Broncos, sweet-16 of a different kind may be elusive

Denver Broncos quarterback Trevor Siemian is expected to return after rookie Paxton Lynch struggled against the Falcons last week.

John Grieshop/Getty Images

Going on the road on a short week against a division rival is usually a challenge for most teams.

For the defending champion Denver Broncos, it is extra difficult this week.

Coming off their first loss of the season, the Broncos will be without coach Gary Kubiak when they visit the reeling San Diego Chargers on Thursday night.

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Kubiak is taking a week off after experiencing a "complex migraine condition" Sunday night shortly after Denver's 23-16 loss to the Atlanta Falcons.

He was sent home from the hospital Monday and issued a statement saying he was feeling much better, thanking his team's medical staff and expressing his confidence in Joe DeCamillis.

DeCamillis, the special teams co-ordinator, is serving as interim head coach.

Trevor Siemian is expected to return as quarterback for Denver after rookie Paxton Lynch struggled against the Falcons.

The Broncos (4-1) have won 15 consecutive division road games, the longest such streak in NFL history.

The Chargers (1-4) are coming off a 34-31 loss at Oakland, where rookie Drew Kaser botched the hold for a potential game-tying field goal late in the game. It was the 10th successive AFC West loss for San Diego going back to 2014.

The Broncos (No. 5 AP Pro32) are 3 1/2-point favourites over the host Chargers (No. 27, AP Pro32)

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BRONCOS, 27-23

Knockout league tip

Tom Brady and the Patriots had no trouble with the injury-riddled Browns last week, so we'll take another first-place AFC team this week. Big Ben and the Steelers are the choice here.

No. 3 Steelers (minus 8) at No. 29 Miami

The Steelers have been one of the AFC's top teams. The Dolphins, who had aspirations of making the playoffs entering the season, are one of the AFC's biggest disappointments so far.


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No. 13 Baltimore (plus 3) at No. 19 New York Giants

Both teams are reeling, with Giants losing three in a row and the Ravens' skid at two. Ravens' offence gets going with new offensive co-ordinator Marty Mornhinweg.

RAVENS, 24-17

No. 16 Bengals (plus 9) at No. 2 New England

Bengals had a no-show in Big D. Going into New England for Brady's home opener? That's a Big L.

Best bet: PATRIOTS, 48-10

No. 31 San Francisco (plus 8) at No. 11 Buffalo

49ers get a lift from Colin Kaepernick's first start of the season.

Upset special: 49ERS, 24-13

No. 8 Philadelphia (minus 3) at No. 14 Washington

Washington has won three in a row, but Carson Wentz cools it off.

EAGLES, 27-21

No. 32 Cleveland (plus 7 1/2) at No. 23 Tennessee

Josh McCown could return for Cleveland. Browns are bound to win at some point.

BROWNS, 21-20

No. 21 Carolina (minus 3) at No. 25 New Orleans

With Cam Newton's status uncertain, Saints find a way in a matchup of one-win division rivals.

SAINTS, 28-17

No. 28 Jacksonville (plus 3) at No. 30 Chicago

Another meeting of one-win teams. Brian Hoyer wins it for Bears.

BEARS, 24-20

No. 18 Los Angeles (plus 3) at No. 20 Detroit

Lions falter after upset of Eagles.

RAMS, 21-17

No. 12 Kansas City (plus 1 1/2) at No. 10 Oakland

Chiefs are winless on the road. Not a good omen going into Black Hole.

RAIDERS, 35-31

No. 7 Atlanta (plus 6) at No. 4 Seattle

Falcons coach Dan Quinn returns to the Pacific Northwest, but Russell Wilson is ready for him.


No. 9 Dallas (plus 4) at No. 6 Green Bay

Aaron Rodgers slows down Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott.

PACKERS, 30-20

No. 22 Indianapolis (plus 3) at No. 15 Houston

Texans might be the weakest first-place team in the league. Colts could tie them with a win.

COLTS, 23-21

No. 26 New York Jets (plus 7 1/2) at No. 17 Arizona

Carson Palmer is expected to return for Arizona. Cardinals' D is eager to test Ryan Fitzpatrick.


Last week: Against spread (10-2-1). Straight up: (9-5)

Season totals: Against spread (38-34-3). Straight up: (46-31)

Best bet: 2-3 against spread, 3-2 straight up.

Upset special: 3-2 against spread, 3-2 straight up.

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