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San Diego Chargers @ Denver Broncos
Monday, October 24, 2016
5 – 2 feels SO MUCH better than 4 – 3 would have felt. The Broncos beat up on the Texans Monday night, not allowing the Brock Osweiler led team into the end zone all night. The defense was spectacular against the Texans, looking like a unit that is just as formidable as last year’s model, and the offense overcame another sluggish start scoring 27 points and finding its way on the ground.
Gary Kubiak’s return to the sidelines clearly motivated a team that looked listless and lifeless in its loss to the Chargers the week before this context. Oh, and don’t look now, but the Chargers come to town Sunday afternoon looking for a season sweep over the Broncos.
I bet they don’t get it.
KEY MATCH UP
The match up when the Chargers play the Broncos is going to be Phillip Rivers versus the Broncos’ defense until the day Rivers hangs it up or the day that the Chargers begin to feature a franchise player other than him. Until that time, Rivers is the quarterback the Broncos fans love to hate and, while the Chargers seemingly handled the Broncos fairly easily two weeks back, don’t be confused: Rivers was not spectacular in that one. He was human to be sure. I like the Broncos chance to handle him with something approaching ease this Sunday in the Mile High City.
The Broncos didn’t lose a key player to a devastating injury last year in their Super Bowl season. Yes, Peyton Manning missed a lot of time and, yes, so did Demarcus Ware, but the team was fairly healthy overall. Thursday’s announcement that CJ Anderson could mean many things – a drop off at the running back position, a lack of veteran leadership carrying the ball, a decline in pass protection. One thing it means for certain is that Devontae Booker will get the first start of his career against the Chargers. Will he be able to put up similar numbers to the 83 yards and a touchdown he amassed Monday night? The Broncos hope so. This game and their season could depend on it.
Monday night felt better but was it a significant step back toward the post season and the Super Bowl? Perhaps. The Broncos ended the game looking like a far superior team to the Texans, but wasn’t that expected? Shouldn’t the Broncos handle teams like the Texans? Handily? Certainly they should.
The question this week is can they handle the Chargers. I think the fact that the Chargers beat the Broncos two weeks ago works in the Broncos’ favor. Primed for revenge, much like they were last week against Brock Osweiler, the Broncos should win this one going away.
If they do, Bronco fans can set their sights on contending for the division title and a first round bye in the playoffs. Lose it and the team will be scrapping for the rest of the year.