In the leading hours to game time at Denver, think about this thought — the San Diego Chargers are the only team in the AFC West that could have a shot at beating the Denver Broncos. The Chargers have two reasons they’re the only team qualified to give the Broncos a loss at home. One is the history factor, and the other is the undoubted comeback player of the year, Philip Rivers.
Besides the New England Patriots, no other team in his career has given Manning a headache than the Chargers. Manning owned a 3-3 all-time record before donning blue and orange, including notable losses in the playoffs to Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles.
In the AFC West, no other quarterback gives Peyton Manning a run for his money. Are Alex Smith or Terrelle Pryor in the same league as Manning?
In Denver’s matchups against AFC West opponents, the Broncos beat the Oakland Raiders 37-21, the Kansas City Chiefs 27-17, the Chargers 28-20, and the Chiefs again 35-28. The Raiders aren’t consistent enough on both sides of the ball to catch up to the Broncos, while the Chiefs can’t get to Manning and can’t score quickly enough.
Rivers is 27-7 all time in December games, and his performances earned Norv Turner extra time in San Diego. His football smarts know to keep Manning off the field, so this includes playing to keep the chains moving. During their last meeting, the Chargers ran the ball better than the Broncos. The Chargers rushed 35 times for 131 yards, and also moved the sticks seven times. Ryan Matthews led the Chargers’ rushing attack with 14 carries, 59 yards, and one touchdown.
This game will be a test of will for both teams and for two quarterbacks with something to prove.