Ring the Bell. There will be a Round 3 for the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers. The Chargers advanced to the divisional round with a 27-10 win over the Bengals. The Broncos and Chargers split the season series. The road team won each game in the regular season. The Chargers come into Sunday’s matchup as arguably the hottest team in the NFL. Here are the three things I believe the Broncos need to do to move on to the AFC Championship Game.
1. Run the Ball Effectively
Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball are extremely crucial in this game. The running game being unable to pick up a first down towards the end of the game against the Ravens last year in the playoffs was a big reason the Broncos went home, so Moreno and Ball moving the chains and keeping an offensive balance for the Broncos is a big deal. If the Broncos get out to a lead, they will need the running backs to keep the chains moving, keep the clock running, keep the Chargers offense off the field, and keep the Chargers defense guessing. An effective running game will also help to set up play action passes and wear down the Chargers defense.
2. Shut Down the Run
The Chargers had a lot of success running the football in the first matchup in Denver. This allowed the Chargers to extend drives and kept the Broncos offense off the field. The Chargers run game has been a big reason they have gotten on a roll recently. The Broncos need to shut down the running game and not let the Chargers get first downs. The faster the Broncos defense can get the Chargers offense off the field the more chances Peyton Manning and the offense will get to put points on the board.
3. Have Some Swagger
One of the most important things the Broncos need to bring on Sunday is some attitude. They need to have some swagger and know that they don’t want this game to end up like the game last year against Baltimore. They also need to have the attitude that the Chargers are not going to come in to Mile High and leave with a win again this year. The Broncos need to have a chip on their shoulders going in to the game and they need to play up to their full potential. Last year, come playoff time, it felt like the Broncos were on cruise control and weren’t totally ready but this year the Broncos need to have learned from that experience and need to be ready to go right away.
If the Broncos can do these things they will be hosting the AFC Championship game the following week against either the Patriots or the Colts.
The Chargers and Broncos will kick off Sunday at 2:40 p.m MST.