The Denver Broncos travel to San Diego this week to wrap up their season series against the Chargers. The (5-5) Broncos occupy 2nd place in the AFC West division standings, one game back from the first place Oakland Raiders. The (4-6) Chargers are two games behind the leader. Denver is riding a 3-game winning streak and has a chance to earn at least a series split with each team in the AFC West with a win against San Diego. The Chargers are in a nose dive after 5 straight losses and are looking to salvage their season. With a win, the Broncos can ensure a .500 or better record against their division opponents for the 15th time in the last 16 seasons.
Sunday's game is scheduled for November 27th at Qualcomm Stadium for 2:15 p.m. MST. CBS has the coverage, with Ian Eagle doing the commentary and the biased Dan Fouts will be the color analyst. Check the Broadcast map to see if it is available in your area.
Qualcomm Stadium is an open air venue with a Grass surface. It seats 71, 294, but isn't expected to be at full capacity at game time. However, as of noon Thursday, the blackout has been lifted for the game.
The weather forecast looks to be optimal for the game, but for the current conditions in the San Diego area, consult this link.
This chart represents the Rankings for the Chargers Offense as compared to the Broncos Defense. I have also included last week's rankings for the Broncos so you can see progress or regress. The DVOA stat is taken from Football Outsiders and is explained here.
|Offense||Rank||Category||Rank||Defense||Last Week||2 Weeks|
|38||4th||QB Hits Allowed||N/A||N/A||N/A||N/A|
Bronco fans all know that Philip Rivers (3023 Yds, a 61.9 Comp %, 15 TDs, a league leading 17 INTs and an 81.1 QB Rating) is the Chargers quarterback. So much so, that No. 2 guy Billy Volek hasn't had any playing time this season.
The Running Backs are leading rusher Ryan Mathews (580 yds, a 4.5 avg, 3 TDs and 35 Receptions for 379 yds), Mike Tolbert (296 yds, a 3.9 avg, 4 TDs and and 42 Rec, for 351 yds, 2 TDs ) and Curtis Brinkley (43 yds, a 4.3 avg, 1 TD and 3 Rec. for 24 yds ). Fullback Jacob Hester (66 yds and a 3.7 avg. and 10 Rec, 43 yds, 1 TD) paves the way for the RB's.
San Diego's Offensive Line is a mess. At the beginning of the season, the line looked like this: LT Marcus McNeill, LG Kris Dielman, C Nick Hardwick, RG Louis Vasquez and RT Jeromey Clary. McNeill, Dielman and his backup, Tyronne Green and Vasquez are all on IR, out or injured.
Last week the lineup looked like this: LT Brandyn Dombrowski (4 Sack Allowed), LG Scott Mruczkowski (1 SA), C Nick Hardwick (1 False Start), Rookie RG Steve Schilling and RT Jeromey Clary (6 pen, 3 FS, 1 Hold, 5.5 SA). This group managed to keep Rivers on his feet against the Bears, with Julius Peppers having the only QB hit.
This chart represents the Rankings for the Chargers Defense as compared to the Broncos Offense.
|Defense||Rank||Category||Rank||Offense||Last Week||2 Weeks|
|N/A||N/A||QB Hits Allowed||10th||43||13th||10th|
The Chargers Defensive Line has Rookie Corey Liuget (8 TKL, 1 FF) at RDE, Antonio Garay (39 TKL, 2 SK) at NT and Vaughn Martin (29 TKL) at LDE. The backups are Jacques Cesaire (12 TKL), Cam Thomas (9 TKL, 1 SK, 1 PD), Tommie Harris (7 TKL, 1 SK) and Luis Castillo (1 TKL) who is injured. Everette Brown (2 TKL) was added 2 weeks ago.
At Left Corner, Quentin Jammer (29 TKL, 7 PD) is the starter, though Dante Hughes (25 TKL, 2 PD) has had plenty of play time. Rookie Shareece Wright hasn't seen much action outside Special Teams. On the Right side, Antoine Cason (32 TKL, 8 PD, 1 INT) starts and Rookie Marcus Gilchrist (25 TKL, 3 PD, 1 INT) is the Nickel.
|Chargers||Rank||Special Teams||Rank||Broncos||Last Week|
Richard Goodman (21 Returns for a 26.3 avg, 44 Long) has done a decent job as the Chargers Kick returner. Jacob Hester (3 KR, 23.7 avg) and Marcus Gilchrist (3 KR, 15.3 avg) have taken reps also. Patrick Crayton (17 PR, 10.1 avg, 31 Long) handles the Punt Returning and Antoine Cason is the backup.
This will be the 104th regular season meeting between these two teams. The Broncos are 54-48-1 (.529) all-time against the Chargers in the regular season (19-32 on the road). The Broncos are 3-7 in their last 10 visits to Qualcomm dating back to 2001. San Diego has won the last four games, including the Week 5 meeting on October 9th by a score of 29-24. The last time Denver won at Qualcomm Stadium was a 34-23 result on October 19, 2009.
On Offense, the Broncos strength (the run) is the Chargers weakness. Denver has moved up from the 8th ranking 3 weeks ago down to 2nd and settling at #4 this week running the ball. The Chargers are definitely better defending the pass than the run. Look for more of the same grinding run game from Denver. The 2nd ranked Jets Defense slowed it down a little, but not enough. Willis McGahee has had more time to recuperate this week. That will be the difference. Until someone stops the Read Option, the Broncos will keep doing it. Keep it simple and execute.
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