Broncos Have Short Week

This is a short week for the Broncos, obviously, but against San Diego Thursday, they have a chance to, in effect, take a 3-game lead on the Chargers, as they would improve to 6-1 with a win while the Chargers fall to 4-3 if they defend home-field advantage this evening at Sports Authority Field.

In any case, the Broncos, despite being forced to have a most unique turnaround, a Sunday night game followed by a Thursday night game, have been blessed to stay at 5,280 feet and the offense is playing exceptionally well, amassing 31.5 points per game, the best in the league, and the Vegas oddsmakers have them as 7.5-point favorites for this divisional bout.

Signal-caller Peyton Manning is now, obviously, the leading touchdown passer in North American professional football history, having surpassed Brett Favre’s 508 scoring passes in the 2nd Quarter of the Broncos’ 42-17 decimation of San Francisco Sunday night, and continues to amass great all-around statistics.

Presently, Manning has 19 touchdowns against three interceptions in 2014, while throwing for 308 yards per game, good for third in league annals and is completing 68.8 percent of his passes, the second-best of his career when he completed 68.9 percent of his passes in 2009 while a member of the Indianapolis Colts.

Manning also leads the NFL in touchdown passes, with 19, yards per pass attempt (8.5), passer rating (118.2), and percentage of touchdown passes (8.8 percent). Thus, San Diego’s defense has its work cut out.

The Chargers’ defense has been excellent this season, however, surrendering only 16.3 points per game, which is third in league annals, and are third against the pass (209.6 yards per game), which one would think would serve them well against Manning and the Broncos’ high-octane offense.

Nevertheless, San Diego’s star cornerback, Brandon Flowers, is out with a concussion for this evening’s game, who led the way with 2 interceptions thus far for the Chargers, while tailbacks Ryan Mathews and Donald Brown are also injured, so the burden rests upon tailback Branden Oliver to pick up the slack.

Oliver, an undrafted rookie tailback out of Buffalo, has amassed 451 all-purpose yards and three total touchdowns and posted a pair of 100-yard games, after breaking onto the scene Week 3, incidentally, against the Bills on the road.

Ultimately, San Diego’s best chance to win this game is to shorten it and take snaps away from Manning although the Broncos’ defense has also improved throughout the season.

Presently, the Broncos’ defense ranks 7th in points allowed (20.2), is sixth in yards given up (316.8),  and third against the run (74.3 yards per game), so it may come down to the play of San Diego signal-caller Philip Rivers against a pass defense which is 18th in the NFL (242.5 yards per game).

Rivers has been just as proficient as Manning, completing 67.1 percent of his passes for 17 touchdowns and 3 interceptions as well as 1,961 yards for good measure.

In aggregate numbers, Manning and Rivers have combined to complete 68.1 percent of their passes for 36 touchdowns and 6 interceptions, or exactly  6 touchdowns for every interception.

With all of this said, I give the Broncos the nod as they are healthier and star defenders DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller have combined for 15 sacks, while the Chargers have only 11 sacks as a team on the season, pass rushers typically seem to play better at home.

In short though, this should be a great game so grab your popcorn.