NFL Denver BroncosSan Diego Chargers

Chargers vs. Broncos: Rivalry Renewed On Monday Night Football

Philip Rivers-San Diego Chargers

Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

When two teams see one another twice a year, every year, the personnel on both sides gets familiar which generally leads to some genuine ill-will between the two. In the San Diego Chargers-Denver Broncos rivalry, that unabashed distaste for the opponent has been only further accelerated over the years. Monday night will be the consummation of the 2012 version of the Bolts and Broncos mutual disdain and the fire still burns for both clubs.

Usually rivalries flourish when they are unpredictable and both teams have had their fair share of success in recent memory. With the lone exception occurring in 2010 when the Kansas City Chiefs won the division, the AFC West champion has come out of this grudge match eight of the past nine seasons.

Perhaps Denver wide receiver Brandon Stokley put it best when he said: “We really don’t like them and they really don’t like us. That’s kind of understood.” While that may sound cliché, it couldn’t be more true when discussing these two rivals.

When this match-up gets renewed Monday night, the Bolts will have to do without left tackle Jared Gaither who has been sidelined more often than he has played thus far this season. After back issues kept him out until week three, the team will now be without quarterback Philip Rivers’ blindside protector due to a groin injury that he suffered late against the New Orleans Saints last week.

Undrafted rookie Mike Harris will again be called upon to fill in as he was when Gaither missed time earlier in the year. Despite his struggles early in the year, Harris is confident now saying: “I’ve been able to learn by doing and learn by watching a real pro like Jared Gaither. He’s so good, and he’s been so helpful to me this season. I feel ready for anything that comes my way.”

There’s no denying the fact that Gaither will be missed as a blocker in both the running and passing game. The fire that burns within all players when these two teams get together however should outweigh any potential struggles. Emotion can overcome even the tallest of obstacles and the Chargers should be fired up with the opportunity to take a two-game division lead and control the tiebreak with a victory on Monday Night Football.

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