coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
On 11/04/2013 05:09 PM in NFL

Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers: Preview and Pick

Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers: Preview and Pick

The Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning are having a very good season and will enter week 10 of the NFL schedule off a bye. This is important because Manning had two sprained ankles which need the rest. The San Diego Chargers are a surprise team in the AFC this season and although they have lost some close games, to include the overtime loss against the Washington Redskins, they have a very talented roster and can play with any team in the league.

Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers Odds

The opening NFL point spread for this game favors the Broncos as they are listed as (-7) point favorites. Although the Chargers have played well this season, the betting public is backing the broncos. Over 90 percent of the early wagering action favors the road team, leaving the Chargers as big time home underdogs. Make sure to check the latest lines for this and every game in the NFL this week at the top rated online sportsbooks.

The Bolts have a chance to beat the broncos but will need better play at the goal line. The Chargers ran three straight plays from the 1-yard line near the end of regulation and failed to score, settling for a field goal that sent the game to overtime. The Chargers have scored on 2-of-11 snaps from the 1-yard line this season (18%), less than half of the league average in those situations entering Week 9 (49%). Of course if they want to win they will need good play at quarterback.

Philip Rivers was 11-for-11 for 95 yards and a touchdown on throws fewer than 15 yards downfield in the first half, and 2-for-7 for 40 yards and an interception on throws at least 15 yards downfield. A well rested Manning will be tough to beat, but look for the Chargers to put up a good fight.

The latest football betting trends for this game reveal that a high scoring game could be on tap. The total has gone over in 4 of Denver's last 5 games on the road; the total has gone over in 5 of Denver's last 5 games but the total has gone under in 15 of San Diego's last 23 games at home. Denver is 8-1 straight up in its last 9 games on the road and 18-2 straight up in its last 20 games, but Denver is 5-9-4 against the spread (ATS) in its last 18 games when playing San Diego.

Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers Pick

With plenty of time to go before the start of the regular season, I will wait to release my pick on this game until we get closer to game day.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/05/2013 01:58 PM

For the San Diego Chargers, the schedule over the next several weeks will go a long way in determining whether or not they break their three-year playoff drought.

This past Sunday, the Bolts had a chance to go into this coming weekend’s match up with the rival Denver Broncos on a high, but a 30-24 overtime defeat at Washington derailed such plans. As a result, San Diego carries a 4-4 mark into its meeting with Peyton Manning and Co.

Having their bye weekend, the Broncos were likely more concerned with the news they got off the field, as head coach John Fox was informed he needed heart surgery this week. As a result, current Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio (a former head coach in Jacksonville) was named the team’s interim head coach until Fox can return. According to a number of reports, Fox will be sidelined for at least several weeks following the heart procedure.

Back on the field, Denver comes into Sunday’s game in San Diego with a mark of 7-1, having only slipped up a few weeks back in a wild 39-33 loss at Indianapolis. That game of course marked the return of Manning to the home of the Colts, the place where he established himself for so many years as one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game.

Following their loss to the Colts, Denver bounced back a week ago this past Sunday, though it certainly was not easy. Trailing at home to Washington by a 21-7 score, the Broncos ran off 38 unanswered points to hand the Redskins their fifth loss of the season.

Heading into the meeting with the Chargers, Manning of course dominates the news on the offensive side of the ball for Denver.

To date, the future Hall-of-Famer has throw this season for 2,919 yards and a ridiculous 29 touchdowns. At the pace Manning is at, while it is certainly not a given, he could very well be taking home the MVP trophy at season’s end. For Manning, however, hoisting the Lombardi Trophy come February is likely more on his mind.

Some other Broncos that are having solid seasons with the pigskin include running back Knowshown Moreno (456 yards rushing, eight TDs), wide receiver Wes Welker (50 receptions, 555 yards, nine touchdowns), DeMarius Thomas (48 catches, 685 yards, six TDs), Eric Decker (46 receptions, 669 yards, three TDs) and Julius Thomas (39 catches, 451 yards and eight touchdowns). As you can clearly see with Denver’s passing game, Manning is certainly not shy about spreading the wealth around.

On the defensive side of the ball, Denver is led to date by former Charger Shaun Phillips (6.5 sacks), Danny Trevathan (59 total tackles) and Chris Harris (three interceptions).

With dates the following three weekends versus Miami (road), unbeaten Kansas City (road) and AFC North leading Cincinnati (home), the Chargers will likely have a good idea as to whether or not they will be breaking that three-year playoff drought come January.

stormy1114 Posts:155 Followers:0
11/05/2013 05:06 PM

coming off the bye and a tough week for sd I bielieve that the over is the play here. remember last year sd took a 24 0 lead and lost the game over should hit atleast 60

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/06/2013 02:32 PM

Ryan Mathews has been running the football hard and has been picking up huge chunks of yards. He got lost in the shuffle over the weekend against the Washington Redskins because we were down early and had to play catch up with the passing game. When the Chargers try to move the ball in the air, Danny Woodhead is the main guy.

There has been a lot of scrutiny on the use of Ryan Mathews in the last game, but I think he will get a ton of use this weekend against the Denver Broncos. The Chargers have to bring back the power running attack and the offense will have to control the clock and pick up big first downs in order to move the football and kill the clock. If the Chargers want a chance at beating the Broncos, they will need to pull off the same keep away offense that got them the win against the Indianapolis Colts. That means Ryan Mathews will get a ton of touches and he will have to pound out those yards.

If there is one team that Ryan Mathews loves facing, it would be the Denver Broncos. He has averaged 102 yards running in 5 games against them in his career. He has a total of 503 yards rushing against the Broncos and 3 touchdowns. He needs to get that rock a ton and keep up that production. If Ryan gets over 100 yards running in the game, we should leave that game with the W.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/06/2013 02:35 PM

The second half of the 2013 regular season starts Sunday for the Denver Broncos when they travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers in their second divisional game this year.

These familiar foes know each other pretty well, and despite the Broncos cruising to a sweep last season, this should be a closely contested battle as Denver adjusts to life on the sidelines without John Fox.

Although the Fox storyline will draw a lot of the headlines, the team must continue on without him and prepare for the Chargers like this is any other week of football.

After fast-paced start to 6-0, the Broncos have returned to reality with a week 7 loss to Indianapolis and a so-so performance against the Redskins at home. While that was happening, divisional rival Kansas City has jetted out to a one-and-a-half game lead in the AFC West that has Denver position as the No. 5 seed if the playoffs started today.

This downward trend must stop in San Diego, otherwise the Broncos will find themselves playing for a Wild Card berth instead of a division crown, regardless of how the team fares in their home-and-home series with Kansas City over the next month.

The most important thing for Denver to do this weekend, other than win, is to not overlook a Chargers team that is looking to rally in the second half of the season after a disappointing loss to Washington last week.

But, that is locker room stuff that we’d like to believe the players already know.

As for what happens on the field this Sunday, here’s what the team must do if they want to keep pace in the AFC West race and the AFC playoff picture as a whole:

1. Don’t Let Phillip Rivers Get Comfortable

Derek Wolfe has yet to have a breakout game this season and the Broncos will need him and the rest of the interior defensive line to get a good push up front to pressure Rivers out of the pocket, where he is less effective. The Chargers offensive line is arguably one of the most improved units in the league this season so this won’t be an easy task, but the more Denver can disturb Rivers’ passes, the easier life will be in the secondary, where rookie Keenan Allen and All Pro tight-end Antonio Gates are expected to thrive against a unit that was burned constantly throughout October.

If Shaun Phillips, Von Miller, Kevin Vickerson and Wolfe each bring down Rivers once and the rest of the defensive line accounts for 15 or so quarterback pressures, then the Broncos defense should look like an improved group coming off the bye week.

2. No more fumbles

No turnovers in general would be nice, but one trend that has emerged — with no real statistical backing, only mere observation — is that the Broncos fumbles really seem to hamper their offense more than Peyton Manning’s six interceptions have over the first half of the season. Fumbles have destroyed the confidence of young running backs Ronnie Hillman and Montee Ball, while Manning’s fumbles have caused a breach in trust of the once-stable offensive line that has been shifting around due to injury ever since training camp started. If the Broncos don’t put any balls on the ground, then their likelihood of winning the contest increases significantly.

3. Win the special teams battle

This is easier said then done, especially if San Diego implements the strategy used by the Redskins in week 8, which was keep the ball away from Trindon Holliday. However, even if Holliday is limited, the special teams unit can not afford to allow San Diego to win this phase of the game. The Chargers blocked a pair of field goals last weekend and this is a unit that is growing more confident week in and week out. Also worth mentioning, former Bronco receiver Eddie Royal is a standout return specialist. If the Chargers bring back a kick or punt return to the house, then this game will be a lot closer than Denver would like it to be, especially considering the team has struggled mightily in close contests against the Cowboys and Colts.

4. Challenge Chargers into conservative play calling

Former Bronco offensive coordinator Mike McCoy, who was known for his conservative play-calling, is now leading the Chargers as head coach. Like an first year head coach, he’s had highs and lows this season on the sideline with a few questionable calls here and there. What the Broncos must do on Sunday is create situations that limit McCoy’s ability to call a more diverse set of plays and force him to return to his conservative routes of running the ball in situations like third and five.

Matchup wise this may prove to be difficult as long-time Bronco killer Gates should thrive on short yard situations throughout the game. Nonetheless, if the Broncos can make the right situational calls on defense it can prove to be a big help by causing McCoy to crawl back into his hermit shell and to restrict Rivers’ ability to make big throws down-field that have propelled his career comeback this season.

Of course, as mentioned early, the pass rush will be key in achieving this step, but what will really make this possible is if the Broncos can contain Gates over the middle and Allen on deep routes. If they can limit San Diego’s aerial attack early on, it could prove to be a big difference later in the game.

5. Attack, attack, attack through the air

This really should be the No. 1 key to winning the game. If the Broncos revert back to their conservative ways with McCoy standing on the opposite sideline, then they will lose this game — mark my words. With Jack Del Rio taking over the coaching duties, don’t expect much to change on the offensive side of the ball. However, if it does, and Manning’s pass attempts are limited for whatever reason, then the team will struggle similarly to how they did early in their last four contests against Dallas, Jacksonville, Indy and Washington.

Now, starting off fast should be a key to every game — hence, why it’s not listed here, but the Broncos can’t get comfortable with any sort of lead in this game, if they are to go up let’s say 17-3 in the first half. The Chargers have a high-octane passing offense and an absolutely terrible secondary that is going to prevent them from being a playoff team more than likely this season. What this means is that the Broncos need to keep throwing it until late in the fourth quarter. The Chargers simply don’t have enough talent back there to handle Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, Wes Welker and Julius Thomas all at once.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/06/2013 02:36 PM

The San Diego Chargers defense needs a chance to regroup, but they won’t get it this week as the Denver Broncos are coming to town.

Last week, defensive back Derek Cox was benched in the second half against the Washington Redskins for struggling in coverage. Cox was signed as a free agent in the offseason, and was thought by management to be an upgrade over Antoine Cason and Quentin Jammer. So far, things have not panned out as they had planned.

He was not the only player to struggle on Sunday, as the defense gave up 500 total yards of offense. The lineup of the front seven may need to be addressed as well. Washington averaged 5.2 yards per carry and totaled over 200 yards rushing.

The Broncos present a multitude of challenges having the most potent offense in the NFL. They have weapons everywhere with Wes Welker, Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker, and Julius Thomas. Not to mention that Knowshon Moreno has played well this season. They have yet to be held under 30 points this season.

Defensive coordinator John Pagano would do well to call his brother Chuck and ask how the Indianapolis Colts slowed Peyton Manning and company. It would be great if the Chargers had a pass rusher the caliber of Robert Mathis but they don’t, so they are going to need to manufacture some type of pass rush. Last week, they were unable to sack RGIII. If Manning is not under pressure he will pick any defense apart.

There is a saying that says, “The best defense is a good offense.” The best way to stop Manning and company is to keep them off the field. That means the running game has to return to form. Before last week the team had been running the ball consistently. The offensive line and Ryan Mathews must have a solid day for the Chargers to have a chance.

Last week was a difficult loss, but if the team can find a way to get back on track this week, it would be huge for team confidence. There is no better way to start the stretch run than with an upset victory.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/07/2013 01:46 PM

San Diego coach Mike McCoy will get to see several familiar faces when Denver visits the Chargers on Sunday.

The former Broncos offensive coordinator, however, won't see his old boss.

With John Fox recovering from heart surgery, Denver looks to keep rolling with defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio at the helm against a Chargers team trying to regroup from a discouraging loss.

Fox was hospitalized last Saturday after feeling light-headed while playing golf during the Broncos' bye week. Two days later, he had his aortic valve replaced, an open-chest procedure which will likely cause him to miss several weeks.

"We all wish him a speedy recovery," Del Rio said. "The best way that we could honor him is to go out and play great football."

The Broncos (7-1) played plenty of great football over the first half of the season.

Denver is averaging an NFL-best 42.9 points - 12.9 better than No. 2 Chicago - and is on pace to shatter the NFL record of 589 points (2007 Patriots). Not surprisingly, Peyton Manning is also putting up eye-popping numbers. His 2,919 yards and 29 touchdown passes are on pace to break the current records of 5,476 yards (Drew Brees, 2011) and 50 TDs (Tom Brady, 2007).

Wes Welker leads Denver with 50 catches and nine touchdowns, Demaryius Thomas has a team-best 685 receiving yards followed by Eric Decker with 669, and tight end Julius Thomas has eight TD receptions.

"I'm not going to say it's as easy as it looks," Demaryius Thomas said. "The main part is, everyone needs to be on the same page. You've got to have everyone on the field knowing what they're doing all the time."

Having a veteran like Manning running the offense should certainly help the Broncos with Fox recovering, and the players aren't expecting anything to change with Del Rio in charge.

"Nothing changes," wide receiver Andre Caldwell said. "It's just a different co-pilot. It's just a different guy saying the same words."

Del Rio is well-versed with the responsibilities of a head coach after spending nearly nine seasons in that role in Jacksonville before joining Fox's staff last year.

"This is coach Fox's team," Del Rio said. "I'm merely the person that's able to keep it running right now while he's healing."

Keeping the team running efficiently could be difficult, as Del Rio inherits a team opening a difficult stretch. The Broncos, who haven't played since a 45-21 win over Washington on Oct. 27, have two matchups with undefeated Kansas City around a road game against AFC East-leading New England in the coming three weeks.

Denver first turns its attention to a San Diego team eager to get back on the field after last Sunday's 30-24 overtime loss at Washington.

The Chargers (4-4) had a first-and-goal from the 1-yard line with 21 seconds to go in regulation, but after an unsuccessful run and two incomplete passes, they had to settle for a game-tying field goal. They never got the ball again as the Redskins scored a touchdown on the first possession in overtime.

"Every loss is hard to get over. It feels like you die," center Nick Hardwick told the Chargers' official website. "But we have to get over it quickly. We need to get a good week of work in and get ready to play Denver and play our best game of football to date."

McCoy, in his first season running the Chargers after four years in Denver, faced plenty of scrutiny for the questionable play calls by offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt in the waning moments against Washington.

"I'm not questioning what we did. We're not questioning that," McCoy said. "This is a team game. It's the San Diego Chargers' organization. And I'm not questioning any of the calls. We did what we thought was best to win the football game and we're moving on."

Aside from failing to get in the end zone from the 1-yard line, there were many reasons why San Diego lost. The Chargers allowed the Redskins to convert 12 of 17 third-down attempts and rack up 500 yards of offense, bad signs with Manning coming to town.

The Broncos won both meetings with the Chargers last season, and Manning had three touchdowns passes in each. In Denver's last trip to San Diego, Manning rallied the Broncos from a 24-0 halftime deficit for a 35-24 victory.

McCoy's coaching stock rose after he found ways to win with Tim Tebow in 2011 and then reworked the offense for Manning last season.

He has now helped revive Philip Rivers' career.

Rivers is completing an NFL-best 72.2 percent of his passes, just ahead of Manning's mark of 71.2, and his 106.5 passer rating is third-best in the league.

He'll be going up against a defense that is allowing an average of 27.3 points but is tied for the league lead with 13 interceptions. Rivers threw six picks in the two games against Denver in 2012.

It might help Rivers if San Diego's offense shows better balance. He threw 46 passes last week while the Chargers had a season-low 16 rushing attempts for 69 yards despite the game being close throughout. Ryan Mathews finished with 34 yards on seven carries after consecutive 100-yard games - both victories - during which he totaled 43 of San Diego's 77 rushes.

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/08/2013 02:16 PM

Who's the Manning?

Though the league's most visible quarterback struggled - in the eyes of some - in the last few games before the bye week, he's got at least a statistical chance to right the ship this weekend. The Broncos don't typically break under defensive pressure (allowing just 11 sacks this season), and, conveniently, the Chargers aren't so good at bringing it (tied for 21st in the league in sacks). Add in the fact that San Diego is better than just five teams when it comes to defending the pass and it looks like video game potential for Denver's passer.

Familiarity breeds success.

McCoy spent his previous four seasons collecting a paycheck from the Broncos organization, including as the team's offensive coordinator in 2012. He's breathed new life into the career of Rivers thus far in 2013 and will no doubt see familiar schemes on the Denver defense now that coordinator Del Rio is serving as the team's interim head coach

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/08/2013 02:17 PM

The logistics have changed a bit, but the goal remains the same.

If first-year San Diego coach Mike McCoy wants to impress his former boss - Denver's John Fox - he's got a perfect opportunity to do so, by beating his former employer on Sunday.

The only thing that's different is that Fox won't be there to see it first hand.

The veteran NFL coach will likely be absent several weeks after undergoing an open-chest surgical procedure that followed an episode of lightheadedness he experienced while playing golf during the Broncos' bye in Week 9. He ultimately had an aortic valve replaced and will be on the shelf during recovery while defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio - himself a former NFL coach in Jacksonville - takes the helm.

Del Rio and McCoy were coordinators on Fox's Denver staff last season before McCoy accepted the head coaching position with the Chargers.

The San Diego side took a frustrating hit last week when it dropped a 30-24 overtime decision at Washington after failing to get in the end zone for the winning TD from the 1-yard line in the final 20 seconds of regulation.

The Chargers misfired on two passes and were stopped short on a run, which prompted them to settle for a chip-shot field goal to force the extra session. The Redskins won the toss, got the OT kickoff and went down the field for a touchdown - ending the game before San Diego got the ball.

McCoy was under fire for the play calls in the final stretch - calls made by offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt - but he steadfastly refused to hang his assistant out to dry for the decisions.

"I'm not questioning what we did. We're not questioning that," McCoy said. "This is a team game. It's the San Diego Chargers' organization. And I'm not questioning any of the calls. We did what we thought was best to win the football game and we're moving on."

In reality, the responsibility likely lies more on the defense.

Washington converted 12 of 17 first-down opportunities against the Chargers and compiled exactly 500 yards of total offense. In two games last season, Denver quarterback Peyton Manning threw six touchdown passes while recording 35-24 and 30-23 wins.

For his sake, San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers is experiencing a renaissance under McCoy and leads the league with a 72.2-percent completion rate - Manning's is 71.2 - while his passer rating of 106.5 is third-best in the NFL.

In the 2012 games against the Broncos, Rivers threw six interceptions. This year's Denver defense is tied for the NFL with 13 picks.

"Every loss is hard to get over. It feels like you die," center Nick Hardwick said. "But we have to get over it quickly. We need to get a good week of work in and get ready to play Denver and play our best game of football to date."

Regardless of coach, the Broncos seem prepared to continue their roll.

Denver is leading the league in points scored and is ahead of the league- record pace for a full season established by the unbeaten 2007 New England Patriots. Manning is also on track to establish records in both passing yards and TD throws.

He's spread the wealth to a plethora of targets, including Wes Welker (50 catches), Demaryius Thomas (685 receiving yards), Eric Decker (669 yards) and tight end Julius Thomas (eight TD catches).

"The main part is, everyone needs to be on the same page," Demaryius Thomas said. "You've got to have everyone on the field knowing what they're doing all the time."

That mindset will certainly help during the Fox-Del Rio transition period.

"Nothing changes," wide receiver Andre Caldwell said. "It's just a different co-pilot. It's just a different guy saying the same words."

Del Rio agreed.

"This is coach Fox's team," he said. "I'm merely the person that's able to keep it running right now while he's healing."

coleryan Posts:21705 Followers:24
11/08/2013 07:02 PM

The Broncos are once again without cornerback Champ Bailey (foot) and safety Duke Ihenacho (ankle) is questionable, which could leave the Broncos a bit short in the secondary. Quarterback Peyton Manning (ankle) leads a parade of 11 probable Broncos.

The Chargers will wait to determine the status of defensive end Lawrence Guy (toe), linebacker Jarret Johnson (hamstring) and wide receiver Eddie Royal (toe), but linebacker Donald Butler (groin) should play after being listed as probable.