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A Message to be Sent - The Broncos' Time is Now

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Coach Speak.  It's a wonderful thing.  All the 'one game at a time' stuff.  It has its place and as a fan I would much rather have a coach use coach speak than to start smack-talking everyone in the division Rex Ryan-style.  No, coach speak is good for coaches, not for fans.  The Denver Broncos, yes, the 5-0 Denver Broncos have a chance to send a message tonight - and to possibly pull the plug on a huge division rival - with a win in San Diego.

We could talk about why this game is so important; just the same we could talk about how a loss wouldn't be that big a deal.  Both sides are right.  Should the Broncos get tripped up tonight - a game many of you had pegged for a loss at the beginning of the season - nothing would be lost.  The Broncos would be 5-1, heading into the BYE week, 2 weeks to prepare for a trip to Baltimore.  The Chargers would be 3-2.  The Orange and Blue would still be in great shape.

To me, however, I want to focus on what a win tonight could mean.  Of course, the obvious is a Broncos win would move the Broncos to 6-0 and open a 3.5-game lead in the division - with 3 HOME divisional games yet to be played.  No looming trip to San Diego like the Broncos faced last year.  No, a win tonight could mean the Broncos coast to the divisional title, or go a long way towards that.

It goes deeper than that, however.  Let's face it - the Chargers are the bullies of the AFC West - winning the Division Title three straight seasons and making the Broncos look pretty bad in doing so.  The Broncos are 1-5 against the Chargers the past 3 seasons - the one win, of course, the (in)famous Hochuli game.  The scores in those games are, well, embarrassing - 
2006 Home 27 35
Away 20 48
2007 Home 3 41
Away 3 23
2008 Home 39 38
Away 21 52
TOTAL 1-5 113 237
Average 18.8/game 39.5/game

Doesn't matter when, or where - since the 3rd Quarter of that night game in 2006, when the Broncos were winning 24-7 and the Chargers came back to win, this 'rivalry' hasn't been the same. The Broncos lost their mojo that night, and the Chargers grabbed it and ran with it.

In San Diego, the numbers are even worse - outscored 123-44 (41-14 average). It hasn't even been close.

The Broncos can change all of that tonight. Tonight, on the road, against a team that has dominated them over the past 3 seasons, the Broncos can get their mojo back and reclaim their stake to the AFC West throne.

Don't think this fact has been lost on Josh McDaniels and the Broncos coaching staff.  I'm sure plenty of time has been spent this week reminding the players of what happened last season and what the Chargers have done to the Broncos over the past 6 games.   McDaniels has already shown himself to be a master motivator and what better motivation than beating a team, on their field, with a chance to deliver what could be a knockout punch.

The Chargers also know this.  The players and management have used their BYE week to air their laundry publicly - first GM A.J. Smith called out his team only to have Shawne Merriman express his disappointment.  Merriman, however, also let it be known that his defense would be ready.  Tactics like this have worked in the past for the Chargers, including last season when the Chargers were 3 games behind the Broncos with 3 to play.

This game, to me at least, has a post-season feel.  Not so much because of the impact the result will have in the standings, but because of the impact a win for either side would have between the ears - and in the respective fan bases.  Chargers fans are confident - as well they should be - but it's time for a change.  It happened in Denver this off-season and now it needs to happen in the AFC West.