October 15, 2012
We’ve got an entertaining prime-time event on our hands to cap week six in the NFL. Bitter division rivals square off in a matchup to temporarily decide who reigns over the AFC West as the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers wage war on Monday Night Football.
The Broncos (2-3) travel to San Diego to take on the Chargers (3-2) in a fairly evenly matched contest that could set the stage for a heated division race for the rest of the year (if Denver wins) or give the Chargers a mighty leg-up.
The Broncos have played catch up in all three of their losses, succumbing to stronger teams in the undefeated Atlanta Falcons, the Houston Texans and the New England Patriots. Their two wins come against teams under .500 (the Steelers and Raiders).
San Diego is in the same boat as Denver, as they also fell to the Falcons and haven’t beaten anyone with a winning record. They’re even the only team to lose to the New Orleans Saints this year, as well.
It’s doubtful we see anything in this contest that tells us the truth about either team, but what we do know is that either the Chargers will take a big lead in the race for the AFC West, or the Broncos will make things very interesting.
If history has anything to do with it, though, you can probably bank on Philip Riversa and the Chargers securing this win and getting to 4-2. Rivers is an impressive 7-3 on Monday Night Football in his career, while Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning has had a rough go of it in games against the Chargers of late.
In his last six battles with San Diego, Manning has been below average, going 1-5 in those matchups, while throwing just 11 touchdowns to 15 interceptions. In fact, the last time he faced the Chargers, back in 2007, Manning tossed a career-high six picks in a 36-14 loss.
On the flip-side, in addition to his elite Monday Night Football record, Rivers owns Denver in his career to date, with a formidable 9-3 record.
If this game gets into a shootout, I have to give the nod to San Diego pulling it out. History says they’ve had the edge, while Rivers is a magician in prime-time games. On top of what the records say, Denver’s pass defense hasn’t been up to part, while San Diego’s defense has proven to be tough at times this year.
If the Broncos can’t muster up a consistent rushing attack against San Diego’s 5th-ranked run defense in this game, it could be much of the same thing we’ve been witnessing out of Peyton Manning and the Broncos this year.
Look for Denver to fall behind early and make a dramatic run late, only to fall short and fall to 2-4.