Coming off the heels of a dominant victory over San Francisco and a game in which quarterback Peyton Manning broke the all time NFL record for passing touchdowns, the Denver Broncos certainly appear to be firing on all cylinders. Coming off a loss at home against the Kansas City Chiefs in which they blew a fourth quarter lead, The San Diego Chargers have seen their 5 game winning streak snapped and their season record at 5-2. After the emotions of breaking the record for Manning it remains to be seen whether or not he will have a let down. For San Diego they have suffered their first loss since week one, they will need to put together a productive game plan in only a few days to stop the most prolific offenses in NFL history.
The Chargers are a team that has no true identity. They aren’t a particularly strong offensive team when it comes to the run or the pass. Philip Rivers is in the midst of his second straight season of performing at an elite level but is never mentioned amongst the elite quarterbacks in the NFL. They have no wide receiver that is amongst the top 20 in the NFL and an aging veteran tight end in Antonio Gates. Their defense has been inconsistent this season and does not have anyone considered an elite defensive player. What they do have is a tremendous chemistry and a strong “next man up” mentality. When starting running back Ryan Matthews went down with an injury backup Donald Brown was ineffective, so they have turned to rookie Brandon Oliver and he has been solid, yet unspectacular. The teams’ strengths are in the most critical areas, the offensive and defensive line. The offensive line has provided running lanes for whoever the running back is as well as pass protection for Rivers. The defensive line has done a strong job against the run and gotten pressure on the quarterback, allowing the team to leave more players in coverage. They will need a strong performance on both lines in order to have a chance beat Denver.
The Broncos faced a tough team that had been playing well in San Francisco on Sunday Night and they completely dominated them from beginning to end. The defense held San Francisco starting running back Frank Gore to a mere 20 yards. The offense was unstoppable with Manning going 22-26 for 318 yards and 4 touchdown passes. Running back Ronnie Hillman is taking the place of injured started Montee Ball and is taking advantage of the opportunity; he had 14 carries for 74 yards and two touchdowns. The receiving core is deep and makes plays all game long but is clearly led my Demarius Thomas who had 2 more touchdown catches amongst his 8 catches for 171 yards.
With the Broncos playing on Sunday night and then having the Thursday night game, they will be playing on the least amount of rest possible. This is not a good thing for a veteran team.
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