Oct 27, 2013; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) is sacked by Washington Redskins linebacker Rob Jackson (50) during the first half at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports
Chargers vs Broncos
The Chargers have a legitimate shot at winning this game today. Had we played the Broncos a few weeks ago, I would not have any reason to believe we could take down the mighty Manning offense. But, this week, it seems that the stars have aligned perfectly to make this a very winnable game.
Donald Butler will play today, which is a relief. Butler has been sidelined since October 6 against the Oakland Raiders. He hasn’t played up to his potential this year, but the Chargers will need his athleticism and leadership in the middle today. Perhaps, his most important addition today will be covering tight ends in the flat. This is a job Eric Weddle has picked up in recent weeks, with diminishing success. Butler will allow Weddle to move into a more natural position on defense and will hopefully help lower the opponents 3rd down success rate (Washington was 12/17 last week). Julius Thomas is probable to play today with an ankle injury so Butler’s presence is huge.
Champ Bailey is officially out again with a foot injury. Denver’s secondary has been awful this year, allowing over 299 YPG by opposing offenses. Keenan Allen will most likely match up with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Cromartie, the cousin of Antonio Cromartie, has played much better this year than his previous years in Philadelphia, but still tends to make ill-advised jumps on routes that can lead to pass interference calls and open receivers. Keenan Allen’s route was jumped last week by David Amerson, leading to a pick. This matchup will be a good test to see how Allen learned from that play. This week, Allen can prove just how good he can be.
This game is going to be a shootout. The #1 passing offense vs the #4 passing offense. The over/under in this game is 57.5, with the Broncos being 7-point underdogs. Home-field advantage helps the Chargers here, but more importantly, the Broncos are without their lead man, john Fox, who is recovering from heart surgery (Get well soon!). Jack Del Rio will take his place for the day. Broncos receiver Andre Caldwell said “nothing changes. It’s just a different co-pilot. It’s just a different guy saying the same words.” I don’t think that is true for multiple reasons. Over 9 seasons, Del Rio boasts a 68-71 overall record as a head coach. We saw how an interim coach worked for the New Orleans Saints last year.
Hopefully the Chargers still have a little of the Manning mojo they showed in the playoffs a few years ago. All of these aspects are aligned for the Chargers to win this game. Now, it is up to them to take advantage of the advantages they have been given. If the Chargers can pull out a win, I think the final score will be closer than the 7-point win projected by Vegas. I predict a 35-32 win by the Chargers.
Let me know what you think in the comments or on twitter @kingofcahill Bolt Up, Chargers fans. It’s game time!