It’s round #2 for the Broncos -Chargers always impressive duel. The Broncos go into Sunday’s game having lost their last three in a row while the Chargers come in having won their last four in a row. Can we bring back the yellow mustard and brown socks now? How about Brett Kern. We were 6-0 before we released him. This epic battle continues with the lead for the AFC West up for grabs. Almost all football analysts had the Chargers pegged as the unchallenged #1 team in the division. Little did they know that Kid Mc-D came into town with some swagger and a new QB in mind. With that said, if Kyle Orton is under center, My Prediction: Broncos 24 Chargers 21. If Chris Simms if driving this bus, My Prediction: Broncos 14 Chargers 31.
Broncos - I hate to make two predictions like that, but let’s face it, a good offense is also a good defense. The longer the Broncos’ drives are, the more we keep Philip Rivers off the field. Point blank – we need Kyle Orton. I don’t know about you, but Chris Simms’ 7.5 passer rating didn’t cut it for me especially after seeing Orton’s arm resemble the old Cutler, by throwing two deep balls to Brandon Marshall for scores. That’s like going from Dom Perignon to warm jungle juice at a cocktail party. Shit happens, I know. But if shit happens, why can’t it happen to someone else? If Simms get the nod, the Broncos will focus on their rush attack. After all, the Chargers run defense is 23rd in the league, so a steady dose of Moreno and Buckhalter could relieve some pressure on Simms. If Orton plays, the offense will be more balanced. This injured offensive line isn’t great for the Broncos, but it’s something good teams work around. Finding something that works is important, and if the Chargers catch on, deviating from that game plan is key. Roll with the punches, don’t become the punching bag.
Chargers- They make stuff happen in the air. On the ground, they’re statistically the worst team in the league. However, last week, they put up 31 points against the Eagles’ 9th ranked rush defense and 10th ranked pass defense. They even had 119 yards rushing that day (Tomlinson had 24 carries for 96 yards and TDs). Truth be told, this offense can surprise you in a lot of different ways. I don’t think LT has youth on his ailing body’s side to string together two solid rushing weeks. If he does, this defense is in a lot of trouble. The usual suspects (Vincent Jackson and Antonio Gates) lead the team in receiving while Malcom Floyd and Darren Sproles are solid targets as well. The Chargers’ offensive line isn’t that solid and Rivers is prone to fumble the ball with some applied pressure. They’ve got something good going right now, so hopefully the Broncos have had time to dissect why their offense is running like a well-oiled machine.
Broncos - They’re not 32nd, but they’re not 1st any more either. The Broncos have been better against the pass than the run lately, but that’s almost to be expected. They’ve got veterans in the secondary and maybe some over eager young guys up front. However, it was those same young guys who have been forcing fumbles and getting to opposing QBs. This squad is just in a funk right now, and with an offense that hasn’t been able to get any serious drives going, this defense might be overworked. The Broncos secondary has their hands full with Rivers and Co., but if we can let Rivers experience some pressure, the Chargers will be forced into more of a balanced offense. That’s a good thing for the Broncos. In week 6, the Broncos caused 4 fumbles, but only recovered 1. That 1 fumble came from Philip Rivers. Elvis Dumervil was able to get to him twice for a sack, so he is a vulnerable QB. It’s when opposing teams give him space that he builds on the land that he has to work with.
Chargers- As I said before, their 11th ranked pass defense is much better than their rush defense. Last time these two teams played, the Chargers only sacked Orton once, and they didn’t force the Broncos into any turnovers. San Diego couldn’t stop Denver’s air attack (227 yards) or their ground game (101 yards). Shaun Philips is leading his team in sacks (5), Antoine Cason and Antonio Cromartie each have 2 INTs on the year, and Stephen Cooper is the equivalent of D.J. Williams as far as being involved in every play. The Chargers aren’t great at defending the short passes, so if the Broncos find some rhythm in that department, it could spell trouble for the Chargers. Typically, if the Chargers hold their opponents to under 30 points (which shouldn’t be hard with the Broncos’ struggling offense), they usually walk away with the win.
Broncos - Last week, this squad was thoroughly embarrassed on defense when Hunter the punter threw a 35 yard TD pass on a fake punt/fg. Eddie Royal had a punt return TD and a kick return TD last time these teams met, so hopefully he can find the gaps again.
Chargers- Who knows if the Chargers will even want to kick to Royal this time around. They’ve got their own all purpose yards weapon in Darren Sproles. He can bust one out at any time, but overall, the Chargers have a middle of the pack return game.
Broncos - I still give the edge to McDaniels. Right now, he’s learning what a losing streak feels like. After all, there weren’t many in New England. No matter who starts at QB, McD will execute the same conservative game plan to limit mistakes and keep the Chargers’ offense off the field.
Chargers- Norv Turner deserves a lot of credit for turning the Chargers around. He figures out the strengths and weaknesses of opposing defenses to give Rivers and his offense a chance to succeed. Now that a few teams have figured out the Broncos defense, Turner has much of the work done for him. You can bet Mike Nolan is making some switches to keep teams guessing. This is going to be a great game.
Topics: Antoine Cason, Antonio Cromartie, Antonio Gates, Brandon Marshall, Brett Kern, Chris Simms, Correll Buckhalter, D.j. Williams, Darren Sproles, Denver Broncos, Eddie Royal, Elvis Dumervil, Knowshon Moreno, Kyle Orton, Ladanian Tomlinson, Malcom Floyd, Norv Turner, Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers, Shaun Philips, Stephen Cooper, Vincent Jackson