Another great divisional match up for football fans features an AFC West show down in San Diego, where the (4-5) Chargers welcome Peyton Manning and the division leading (6-3) Broncos to town. The first game was an instant classic, where the Broncos came from way behind at the half to steal one at home. Manning trailed 24-0, before scoring 35 unanswered points as they stunned the Chargers. The Broncos haven’t looked back and have strung together some nice wins on route to the division lead.
The Chargers will be motivated after being embarrassed, and if they want to make a playoff push, this will be the game that turns the season around. They have been tough to figure out, as they have the potential to be one of the best teams in the AFC, and then they can lay an absolute egg on the road, as we’ve seen against Cleveland.
I’ve always been a Manning guy, but what he is doing with a new team is incredible. He’s turned Eric Decker and DeMaryius Thomas into fantasy must starts, and has is leading the NFL’s 2nd ranked offense in points per game. (30) Looks for them to keep flying against San Diego who rank in the top 10 in yards and points allowed.
Phillip Rivers will need to do some work against a Broncos defense which is starting to come into their own. He does have the tools on offense to compete, but he will need to be in control and not make costly mistakes like he did last week in the loss to Tampa. They will have to play a near perfect game, and extend drives and keep the ball out of Manning’s possession to be successful.
Why Denver will win – When Peyton Manning is on the field, you always have a chance to win. There is no panic in this offense, and they move the ball well. They also feature a top 10 defense, which Peyton has never had before. A team hitting their stride, and have an easy schedule down the stretch will allow Manning to continue to work with his new weapons, and sprinkle in some Willis McGahee, and the Broncos can roll
Why San Diego will win – Phillip Rivers is still a good quarterback, and they will have a healthy Ryan Matthews in the line up. If they can control the line with Matthews, and Rivers can find Antonio Gates on 3rd down to move the chains, they will be in this game. It will be imperative to hang on the ball and eliminate mistakes and keep Peyton on the sideline looking at notes.
Lynchpin preview – The Broncos have confidence knowing that they can come from behind to win a game, so being on the road won’t have an effect on them. Look for Manning and Thomas to hook up, and Decker to have a 100+ game through the air. Manning will rack up big numbers, and Rivers to be efficient but come up short – Broncos win in a close game.
Big Day – Ryan Matthews, Peyton Manning, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Antonio Gates
Lost in the shuffle – Malcom Floyd, Danario Alexander, Brandon Stokely