SO what would you rather see? 7-6 or 8-5? One sure does sound better than the other. For the Broncos, one means playoff demise while the other means a post season full of possibilities. Sure, a loss wouldn't mean the end of Denver's playoff hopes, and a win wouldn't clinch anything, but either outcome would go a long way towards both of those outcomes.
The team received a big lift yesterday, when it was reported that Al Wilson would not only play, but planned to start one week after being carted of the field on a gurney. Wilson is the emotional leader of the defense and with him on the field you get a sense that all things are possible. How effective Big Al is in stopping L.T. will go a long way in the success the Broncos are able have today.
Jay Cutler should be more relaxed and composed in his second start, and sometimes a road game is the perfect place for a young quarterback to get his bearings. Sunny and 75 won't hurt either, and I really think that Cutler can have a big day. The Charger defense is definitely stronger up front than in back, and if the Broncos O-Line can step up and give Jay time there will be opportunities downfield.
Mike Shanahan needs to come out with all guns blazin'. If there is a trick play in the playbook that he has been keeping for a special day, today is the day to do it. If we have to throw every down, then we do. If that means going 5-wide, we do. The Chargers will have a full compliment of defenders back that the Broncos didn't see in the first meeting, guys like Shawne Merrimen and Luis Castillo. Running the ball today is not going to be easy.
Philip Rivers makes mistakes. His pick-6 against the Broncos nearly cost San Diego the game. Bronco defenders are going to have to get some turnovers, giving Cutler some short fields and 'easy' scoring opportunites. The defense will also have to sell out to stop LaDainian Tomlinson. He cannot be the guy that beats Denver today. If someone else has a big game, then so be it, but it cannot be L.T.. If he goes over 100 yards, we lose, period.
The Denver UN-Special Teams cannot make mistakes. No more fumbles, no more running into the kicker, no penalties on returns. Just play solid, tackle well, and get the ball out to the 25 yard line. Is that too much to ask? The lack luster player by the ST unit has really put the Broncos in some deep holes and if the Broncos are to have any hope today that will have to stop. Keep an eye on it today, Bronco fans, and see if a special teams guffaw equals points for the Chargers in some way.
Can the Broncos win this game? Definitely. Marty Shottenheimer has a knack for losing games late in the season. He nearly lost the past 2 games to teams under .500. If the Broncos play 60 minutes of good football, and can stop L.T. they definitely have a shot. Jay Cutler has that forst start under his belt, and the Broncos have their collective backs against the wall. A loss today would probably be the back-breaker, while a win and they are right back in this thing. For some reason I woke up this moring thinking positive thoughts. The Broncos are going to find a way, somehow.
BRONCOS 27 - CHARGERS 24