The San Diego Chargers have become a very inconsistent team this year. While they have lost to teams like the Oakland Raiders and Washington Redskins, they have also defeated the NFC East leading Dallas Cowboys and the 7-2 Indianapolis Colts – by double digits no less. The question is, which Chargers team will show up this Sunday for their first matchup against the Denver Broncos? The team that held the Colts without a touchdown or a forced turnover, or the team that allowed 27 points to the Raiders turned the ball over the ball five times?
The key to the Chargers is 10th year quarterback Philip Rivers. His team is 3-1 when he doesn’t throw a pick this season, and just 1-3 when he does. Though he throws for any average of 300 yards and two touchdowns a game, the Chargers must find ways to more successfully move the ball on the ground if they are going to have any chance of winning. The Broncos’ aggressive secondary leads the NFL in interceptions and will surely make plays against an oft pressured quarterback if Rivers is forced to win the game with his arm.
The Chargers’ defense ranks in the bottom 20 of the league against both the pass and run. There is little to no chance of them shutting down Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ offense, especially after a bye week and the added motivation from the loss of head coach John Fox. The Chargers simply do not have enough talent on the defensive side of the ball to win this game, as they have only forced five turnovers; their only shot is for their offense to try and keep up.
However, after a bye week where Broncos’ key defensive players such as Robert Ayres, Shaun Phillips, Duke Ihenacho and Champ Bailey were able to rest and get healthy, the Broncos’ defense should be able to dominate this team. The Chargers’ offensive line has given up 12 sacks in eight games, running back Ryan Mathews has only scored once this season, and there is not a single matchup problem in the secondary for the Broncos, especially with the stellar play as of late from Ihenacho and Rahim Moore at the safety position.
There is truly nothing to indicate that this will be anything other than a blowout victory for the Broncos. However, with the Kansas City Chiefs game just around the corner, the Broncos must be careful to not look ahead and focus on the task at hand – demoralizing a division rival.
Written by John Spina. Follow him on Facebook or on Twitter @jsspina24.