The Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers boast two of the premiere quarterbacks in the NFL right now, and according to Denver's defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, preparing for Philip Rivers is a lot like how he used to prepare for Peyton Manning when he was his opposing head coach in the AFC South.
"I watch Peyton; I watch what he does with our players, the timing, the practice. You look at [the San Diego Chargers] and what they're doing. They're working the same way," Del Rio said. "[Philip Rivers is] a really good quarterback with really good skill people, and they're on the same page. That's a hard combination to slow down. Teams experience that when they play our offense, and San Diego is going to present that kind of challenge for us."
Manning and Rivers lead the AFC in passer rating with 118.2 and 113.0 scores respectively. Both are completing over 67% of their passes in 2014. Their success has made each of them top NFL MVP candidates - oddsmakers have Manning with league-leading 5/2 odds to win his sixth MVP while Rivers is enjoying 10/1 odds to win what would be his first MVP selection.
"Our defense has a tough challenge," said Manning. "Philip is playing great... Offensively it's your job when you have it to try to do something with it, whether you have a bunch of possessions or you have very few. You prepare for all different types of gameplans and you never know what's going to happen in that particular game. Our defense has a challenge and our offense has to play well in order to keep up with their offense and try to move the ball against their defense."
First place in the AFC West (and possibly the AFC) is on the line when Rivers and Manning square off in Week 8.
Kickoff is set for 6:26 p.m. MDT on Thursday, October 23rd, 2014.
The game will air on Thursday Night Football, simulcast on both CBS and the NFL Network. Everyone gets the game this week!
Jim Nantz (play-by-play) and Phil Simms (color commentary) will call the game with Tracy Wolfson reporting from the sidelines.
The NFL streams Thursday Night Football on NFL.com. Verizon customers can download and subscribe to the NFL Mobile app. At a premium, you can stream the game after the final whistle blows from NFL.com using Game Rewind. You can also listen live using streaming audio from NFL.com.
850 AM KOA & Sirius 92.
There will be a partial solar eclipse in Denver leading up to the game; with weather forecasts predicting sunny skies in Colorado, it should be viewable by both tailgaters and players. Don't look into the sun, Broncos receivers (and fans)!
The Denver Broncos are relatively healthy, although starting running back Montee Ball (groin) and weakside linebacker Danny Trevathan (leg - Injured Reserve Designated to Return) will miss the game. On special teams, Omar Bolden is out and Steven Johnson is questionable.
The San Diego Chargers are more significantly injured. Running backs Donald Brown and Ryan Mathews have both been ruled out, along with starting cornerback Brandon Flowers. Rookie cornerback Jason Verrett is questionable.
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The Broncos are 7.5-point favorites against the Chargers at home. Both teams have recent success against the spread; the Broncos are 3-0 in their last three games ATS, while the Chargers are 6-0 in their last six games as road dogs.
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