No team in the NFL is a fan of the short week, especially when it gets to be this late in the season. That may still be the case for the San Diego Chargers coming into their Thursday night tilt with the Denver Broncos, but something tells me their complaints will be somewhat muffled given the potential benefits they will receive.
Perhaps the best place to begin is with the second concussion in three weeks to wide receiver Wes Welker which will likely prevent him from playing on a short week. Now clearly Denver has more than enough additional weapons to hurt the Bolts’ secondary with Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Julius Thomas, but subtracting one big name from that equation can’t hurt their chances.
The fact that the once suspect San Diego secondary is actually rounding into form of late also can’t hurt matters. The Bolts have surrendered just two passing touchdowns in the last two games which certainly bodes well heading into a game against Peyton Manning. There’s no doubt Denver will try to stay balanced with Knowshon Moreno on the ground, but the passing game is sure to dominate their offensive game plan.
Disrupting that passing game will be a little bit easier than it was back in Week 10 when these two last met as pass rusher Melvin Ingram is back in action and looking good for the Chargers. He is getting himself back into game shape and is likely to play the most snaps since his return on Thursday night. His addition to an injury-depleted linebacking corps can only help matters when it comes to making Manning uncomfortable in the pocket.
It also can’t hurt the team’s confidence that their loss back in Week 10 was actually a game that remained somewhat close with an eight-point difference after 60 minutes. Although Denver jumped out to a big lead early, the Bolts showed fight and got back into things before time ran out on their efforts. If the offense cash in for touchdowns instead of settling for field goals as has been the unsettling trend of late, San Diego could find themselves in quite a battle.
To say that the conditions will be in the Chargers’ favor on the road in a cold weather environment may be stretching the truth a bit, but there’s no reason to think this team can’t hang around and make things interesting when push comes to shove in the fourth quarter. It’s all going to depend on whether the improvement in the secondary proves to be a real development or if it disappears like an oasis in the desert when the Broncos are the opponent. At least the short week appears to benefit the Bolts on the surface which is a rarity for teams heading into a Week 15 contest.