Before each game I will be covering three players who need to perform well to help the Chargers come out on top. This week the Chargers face the Denver Broncos.
The Broncos are coming off a loss to the Atlanta Falcons. They are hungry for a win to keep their division title away from the rising Oakland Raiders. The Broncos are the defending Super bowl champions and have close to zero real weaknesses.
In order for the Chargers to even remain close in this game, it’s going to require each player on the roster to play at their peak. Here are some of the players who need to have their best games of the season to help the Chargers seal a victory.
OT Joe Barksdale
Joe Barksdale is one of my favorite players in the NFL. If you aren’t fallowing him on Twitter, you should. He is one of the highlights on the Chargers’ offensive line. Last year, he was the only lineman to play in all 16 games. This year, he missed his first game last week against the Raiders, and it is a possibility he misses Thursday’s game as well. Barksdale is listed as questionable. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if he plays, and boy do the Chargers need him this week.
The Broncos have one of the best, if not the best, pass rushes in the NFL. Von Miller already has racked 6.5 sacks on the year. He isn’t slowing down this week. On the other end, the Broncos have a blooming star in Shane Ray, who has 3.5 sacks on the year. To compare those numbers to those of the Chargers, Melvin Ingram leads the team with three sacks. The Chargers can’t afford to let Miller and Ray do as they please. Having Barksdale in will at least help slow one of them down.
QB Philip Rivers
This game is going to require a perfect performance from Philip Rivers. The Broncos’ secondary is elite. Rivers has no room for error. If there is any player that keeps this game interesting, it’s Rivers. With the Broncos’ front seven, Rivers is going to have to find creative and fast ways to get the ball out of his hands. This wouldn’t be the first time Rivers upsets the Broncos. Rivers will have to channel his 2013 upset to make this happen.
DE Joey Bosa
Joey Bosa needs to play more snaps–that’s a given. With only playing about a third of the snaps against the Raiders and missing the first four games of the season, Bosa became one of the most talented defensive players on the Chargers roster. Facing a semi-weak offensive line in the Broncos, Bosa will have to unleash his inner monster for a second week in a row.
Keeping pressure on a young and inexperienced quarterback could be the key to this game. If the Chargers can force Trevor Siemian, who’s expected to start, to make some bad decisions, the defense could allow Rivers more attempts to break the Bronco’s nearly impenetrable defense. Secondly, Bosa should be used to help stop the run. Last week, Bosa was mainly used in pass rush (though he did tackle RB Jalen Richard for a two-yard loss). With his skill set, it will be interesting to see Bosa go against guards, possibly taking on double teams and see how he performs. Bosa has the ability to do it, and it’s time for him to cement his place in the NFL.
TE Hunter Henry
Hunter Henry will have his work cut out for him this week. He will be assisting in the running game, blocking against Miller and Co. Henry has shown great ability to block; this will be his biggest challenge yet.
OT King Dunlap
Copy and paste from what I said about Barksdale. King Dunlap will be relied on facing the Broncos’ pass rush. Tall task to ask of anyone.
WR Tyrell Williams
Aqib Talib will most likely be covering Tyrell Williams on Thursday. Williams has the size and the speed advantage over Talib. If Williams can play physical, this might make for an interesting matchup.