Broncos v. Chargers Preview
The Broncos finally make their appearance on MNF. They’ve captivated a national audience for weeks now, with their success against a few tough teams. I’m a little worried about them playing on a day other than Sunday. Their routine is thrown off a little bit and the only game on T.V. at that time always draws a lot of eyes. This is a huge game for a team that threw last year’s playoff spot out the window. The Chargers won their last few games and the Broncos lost theirs and were forced to hand over the AFC West division crown. Not that we would have gone far in the playoffs, but it’s a punch in the face when the Chargers beat us the way they did. The Chargers head into Monday’s game well rested and 2-2. They probably changed some things during their bye week to get them back on track. The Broncos are coming off of a couple of emotional wins and looking forward to their bye following the Monday night game. This is going to be a heated battle as the Chargers look to gain some ground and the Broncos look to go 6-0 before their bye week. My Prediction: Broncos 31 Chargers 27.
Broncos – The Broncos offense is solid in both the pass (ranked 15th) and the rush (ranked 5th). The Broncos are still fairly healthy at this point in the season (knock on wood). Correll Buckhalter is expected back and we all know that he compliments Knowshon Moreno in the backfield tremendously. Brandon Marshall has shown moments of greatness and Eddie Royal came onto the radar screen again after last week’s 10 catch, 90 yard performance. Kyle Orton has been the best bus driver anyone could ask for, managing a talented group of offensive players all while limiting his own mistakes. All of these components will be essential on Monday to be able to keep up with the Chargers’ potent offense. The Chargers are horrible against the rush, so as long as our offensive line continues to do its job and gives Buckhalter and Moreno some gaps, we should be able to expose their weakness up front and control the clock, keeping the ball out of Philip Rivers’ hands.
Chargers- This offense can attack from all angles even though they are the worst in the league in the rushing department. In their defense, they have faced some great rushing defenses in Pittsburgh, Baltimore, and Miami plus LaDanian Tomlinson has only played in 2 games. The Chargers have only attempted 80 carries in four games, but Darren Sproles is an athletic guy who can break for large gains from the backfield or catch the short pass and then run with it. LT will play on Monday as well, but he’s not the back he once was. Despite the terrible run statistics, their passing game is 2nd in the league. Pick your poison in Vincent Jackson, Antonio Gates, or Sproles. All three do damage downfield and will definitely keep Brian Dawkins, Champ Bailey, and Andre Goodman working. Philip Rivers is the kind of QB that can be knocked out of his game quickly with some hard hits and INTs. When you stop him, this entire offense goes down the tubes.
Broncos – The Broncos will attempt to put a lot of pressure on Rivers. I wouldn’t be surprised if Elvis Dumervil got another couple of sacks to add to his season total of 8. The Chargers offensive line was battered before their bye week, and Mike Nolan will make sure his defense attacks them. The Broncos are 6th against the pass and 5th against the rush. They are only allowing 8.6 points per game and 171 passing yards per game. I think that average will go up after facing Philip Rivers, but they’ve got the talent to contain the pass game. The Broncos defense has been the homemade bread and butter so far this season, keeping the team in games until the offense gets their act together. This could be a short night for the Broncos defense if they force Rivers into 3 and outs, and then find success in the Broncos running game.
Chargers– They are 27th in the league against the rush and 12th against the pass. They don’t have a pass rush as evident by just 6 total sacks through 4 games. Jamal Williams is out for the season with a tricep injury which has hurt their defensive line a lot. Stephen Cooper leads the team in tackles, and there isn’t one person with more than one sack. Antoine Cason leads the team in INTs with 2. They cut their starting safety, Clinton Hart, just a few days ago because he was having tackling issues. Shawne Merriman hasn’t done anything for the team this year, and trading him away may be in their best interest since Larry English is improving each week. The Broncos can definitely take advantage of this struggling defense.
Broncos – The return game for the Broncos hasn’t been spectacular. However, as long as they could onto the ball, I can’t complain too much. Matt Prater continues to save the day with his great long distance range. There isn’t a better guy that could’ve replaced Jason Elam.
Chargers- Nate Kaeding is 8 for 9 on field goals with a long of 47. Darren Sproles handles the kick returns and he’s already returned one 66 yards this year. Our special teams has got to contain him because we don’t need to give Rivers great field position to work with.
Broncos – Even though he’s young, give the advantage to Josh McDaniels in this department. Coaching under Belichick for 8 years is the best experience a young guy can get. After a few coaching mistakes early in the season, McD is fitting in nicely and does a great job with play calling. He’s a smart coach and as a former QB coach, he knows how to get to the opposing QB.
Chargers– Norv Turner is on the bubble. His team was predicted to easily dominate the AFC West, but right now, they’re just a game better than the Raiders. He’s a good offensive coordinator, but a terrible head coach, and many say he stands in the way of the Chargers winning a Super Bowl.