The San Diego Chargers face their biggest test of the season this week going up against the Denver Broncos. The Chargers’ task is compounded by the fact that they must face Peyton Manning & Co. on a short week.
Last Sunday, the Chargers defense harassed Manning’s younger brother Eli and found ways to create pressure. While they were only created with two sacks, they were in Eli’s face all day. Getting to Peyton will be a much tougher challenge. Peyton has been sacked 15 times thus far this year compared to Eli who has been sacked 33 times.
Philip Rivers will likely have to match Manning score for score, a tough task for anyone, but the Broncos defense will allow him the chance to do so. The Broncos rank 29th overall against the pass. They have given up 55 pass plays over 20 yards, only the Dallas Cowboys defense has allowed more. Rivers has had a bounce back year this year after what many analysts considered two down seasons by him. Two seasons ago he had 20 interceptions, last season he had 15, this year he has just nine. It will be imperative that he continues to control his turnovers against the Broncos.
The Chargers defense is coming off of what is probably their best game of the season. They forced three turnovers. They held the Giants to 92 net rushing yards. The turnovers combined with the offenses success running the ball, the Giants only had the ball for 23:04 of possession. The question is, can they do it again?
Wes Welker is a questionable for the game after suffering his second concussion in a matter of four games, 22 days. For a normal offense, losing a weapon of Welker’s caliber would greatly diminish the team’s offensive proficiency; however, the Broncos are not a normal offense. They have a multitude of weapons at their disposal with DeMariyus Thomas, Eric Decker, Julius Thomas, Knowshon Moreno, Montee Ball, Andre Caldwell, and Trindon Holliday.
The Chargers playoff hopes are very slim but they do exist. With the Baltimore Ravens having a tough test against the Detroit Lions and Miami Dolphins playing the Patriots, the Chargers could conceivably be tied for the final playoff spot come week’s end. Regardless, the final stretch of the season will be an exciting as the Chargers have experienced in a few years.
Photo Credit: Gary Robbins | UT-San Diego