The last time the Broncos got a win against the hated San Diego Chargers was Oct 11, 2009. The scrappy new coach of the Broncos Josh McDaniels was on his famous 6 and 0 run and all was well in the world. Then, almost like a great night out on the town, the buzz abruptly ended and the Broncos have been living with a major hangover ever since. The Chargers have owned the Broncos the last three games and outscored them 100 to 55.
Of those three games, Kyle Orton started two of them averaging 194 yards a game, 1 TD pass and 2 INTs. The Broncos lost those games 3 to 32 and 14 to 35. In the last match up against the Chargers in 2010 Tim Tebow and the Broncos lost 28 to 33. Tebow had 205 yards passing, 2 TDs, and rushed for 94 yards and another TD. But stats and fan favorites don't weigh in on the Broncos coaching decisions these days so Kyle Orton will line up behind center JD Walton and the Broncos will try their best to defeat their division rivals and quiet the boo birds of Denver.
The good news is, I think this Sunday the Broncos are in the perfect position to stage an upset. Our nemesis Philip Rivers has been average at best this season ranking 13th in the league is QB ranking, slightly ahead of Orton at 19. Rivers has 5 TD passes but 6 Ints and has been without his All-Pro TE Antonio Gates. Vincent Jackson has been amazing, ranking 4th in NFL with 374 yards, 18.7 average, and 3 TDs but has been nursing a sore hamstring and an abdomen injury and missed several practices this week.
For the struggling Broncos, this game has already become a season saving game. Not only for the entire team but for Kyle Orton. Soundbites from linebacker Joe Mays and standout wide receiver Brandon Lloyd this past week have almost been pleas for Broncos fans to ease up on their starting Quarterback. John Fox has been prodded, poked, and pricked all week with Tebow questions and the entire team is frustrated as a dad stuck shopping with his wife on the day after Thanksgiving.
Something needs to give and i believe the Broncos players will rally at home this week and upset the Chargers giving some hope to fans just before the bye week. If nothing else, they all want to avoid the Tebow distraction and enjoy a few days off this coming week. The task will not be easy. The chargers are ranked 7th in the league in offense while the Fox conservative offense ranks 24th. On defense, San Diego is ranked 6th and Denver is ranked 23rd.
Both teams have some impact players. Outside of Vincent Jackson, the Chargers are getting a lot of production from all purpose running back Ryan Matthews who has 288 rushing yards, 3TDs, and an average of 4.7 per carry while also achieving 254 yards in receptions. The Broncos, who linebackers have struggled covering TEs and RBs will have their hands full with Matthews. I believe the Broncos D can hold down his rushing yards but have some concerns about stopping him out of the backfield.
Despite the pesky Matthews and the current NFL rankings of these two teams i feel the Broncos are very desperate for a win and will come out fired up to beat this team and quiet (at least for a few weeks) all the naysayers across the league. If the Broncos can't come out and be inspired for this kind of game than we might as well close up shop for the rest of the season.
The keys to pulling off this upset are very simple. Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller need to dominate the line of scrimmage and keep Philip Rivers on his heels and hopefully on his duff multiple times in the game. Linebackers need to follow Matthews out of the backfield and safeties Rahim Moore and Brian Dawkins need to put some punishment on the injured Vincent Jackson. The best news of all is Champ Bailey is expected to be back and that really helps the Broncos against the former Greeley star Jackson.
On offense, the Broncos need to get Lloyd and Decker the ball often. Pass first, run second and catch the Chargers off guard. Did you hear that McCoy and Fox? Don't be predictable and switch things up against the Chargers! Kyle Orton needs to help himself and ease the tension off of all his teammates. Players, coaches, and fans are tired of talking about the QB controversy. The time is now for Kyle Orton to have a huge 300 yard game with multiple touchdowns and no interceptions.
The Broncos fizzled at home against the Raiders and were thoroughly beaten and embarrassed last week against Green Bay. The Broncos hate the Chargers and they will be pumped up for a huge Broncos upset. When i looked at the schedule at the beginning of the year i had this game as an L but i am changing that L to a W because the Broncos need this win desperately and will not eat crow again before the bye week. Mark my words (in pencil please) Broncos beat the Chargers by 4.
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