Two weeks ago the Chargers were atop the power rankings. They had practically been anointed Super Bowl Champions. Then a close game against the Raiders and a mistake ridden game against the Chiefs and they find themselves 8 point underdogs to the Broncos in Mile High.
The Chargers stumble against KC paired with Peyton Manning’s Broncos domination of SF and everyone is predicting a whooping by the Broncos on Thursday. Heck two weeks ago The Chargers were Superbowl favorites and now they are scheduled to be the Broncos punching bag. What does this tell us? Don’t believe the hype, the pundits or the so-called NFL experts.
What does this tell us? Don’t believe the hype, the pundits or the so-called NFL experts.
I won’t bore you with the offensive and defensive rankings of each team this week, but statistically these teams are very similar. The Broncos have a slight edge but its nothing overwhelming. But I do have some important stats to share.
SacksThe Broncos are 3rd in the league in sacks with 21. The two teams ahead of them are Buffalo and Jacksonville. Apparently leading the league in sacks does not translate directly into a winning record. On the other hand the Chargers have allowed only 11 sacks this year, which puts them in the top 10 of the league. The Chargers line has done a great job of providing Rivers enough time to unload the ball. I don’t expect that to change on Thursday.
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Philip RiversThe Chargers signal caller has been tearing up the league this year. He had 5 straight games with a passer rating over 120 before hitting a bump in the road last week. Note that I called it a bump. Philip Rivers will be back to his stellar form on Thursday night. Why? Because anyone who has followed Phil knows that he gets up for these games. Thursday night in Mile High, Phil will be there with his A game. Expect the Chargers to score more than 20.
Also, Philip is 4-3 against Peyton. There are very few teams or QBs who have a winning record against Manning. Can Felipe Rios put another notch in his belt on Thursday? History says there is better than an even chance he might.
The ChargersThe Lightning Bolts are 6-7 against Manning. While that may not seem like a very good number, if you compare it to the rest of the league you realize that it is very good. It ranks 3rd behind NE (14-7) and Miami (8-5) who have the only winning records against Peyton. The Chargers have always played well against Manning. They have always been able to get under his skin a little. And don’t think Manning does not know that. If the Chargers get him rattled a little the Broncos signal caller may find himself thinking, “Oh no. Not this again.”
Oct 19, 2014; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers running back Branden Oliver (43) is defended by Kansas City Chiefs free safety Husain Abdullah (39) during the fourth quarter at Qualcomm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports
The UnknownLast year it was Ryan Matthew who surprised the Broncos. Will they be surprised this year by a running back they have never faced? Could Branden Oliver steal the show from both Rivers and Manning? Statistics say its not likely, but how will the freshman perform under the light on national television. Hmmm…
The UnpredictableFootball is not a science. It is a game with an odd shaped ball, that only punters can make bounce the way they want it to on a regular basis. It sometimes turns out to be a contest settled by inches on just one play. Throw in a pick six or a return for a TD and the predictability goes way out the window, across the street and ends up a couple of blocks away. Any given Sunday David might knock of Goliath, just ask the Seahawks who are returning from St. Louis.
This week, though, let’s call it any given Thursday…