Peyton Manning’s Denver Broncos head west to take on Philip River’s San Diego Chargers in an AFC West rivalry matchup on “Monday Night Football.”
Both the Broncos and Chargers are looking to improve their chances at winning the AFC West title by escaping Monday’s game with a ‘W’. Of course, only one team can do so, while the other will be forced to fall in the standings – and have their chances wrecked at winning a potential end-of-the-season tie-breaker.
The offensive game plan is simple for the Chargers: attack the Broncos through the air. The Broncos have a very weak defense, mostly because of their pass defense. The Chargers have a strong offensive attack, mostly due to a sound passing game. It’s easy to claim, then, that the Chargers’ biggest offensive advantage is their passing attack. Pass early; pass often.
On defense, the Chargers need to be in damage control mode. No, I’m not implying that the Chargers have an injury-riddled D that needs to just hold on long enough to get by. Rather, I’m saying that the Chargers have home-field advantage and will dominate the Broncos D when the offense has the ball; so why do anything too drastic on defense? Keep it simple: stop the run on first down; watch out for play-action and other trick plays on second down; and don’t allow drives to continue by giving Manning valuable pocket time on third-and-longs.
Because they’re the ‘dogs in this game, the Broncos need to get aggressive right from the get-go. On offense, Manning and his favorite target WR Demaryius Thomas need to form a consistent connection. Moreover, Manning can’t be worried about throwing interceptions; instead he needs to be more focused on attacking, attacking, attacking. As a ‘dog, you typically can’t win without being ultra-aggressive. Only if Manning is attacking downfield all game will the Broncos have a shot at winning this one.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Broncos need to look to create turnovers. LBs Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil need to get disruptive pressure on Rivers to force him out of his comfort zone. CBs Tracy Porter and Champ Bailey are great ball-hawks; they’ll be able to get interceptions if Rivers isn’t dead-on accurate.
Ultimately, this game will be decided by the Broncos’ willingness to attack aggressively. If they come out playing conservatively, this game could be blowout for San Diego by the end of the third quarter. It’s necessary that the Broncos create turnovers on defense and attack downfield on offense in order to swing this game into their favor.
Bold prediction: Chargers win 28-21
DynamicPicks Computer Prediction:
Denver Broncos @ San Diego Chargers
Projected win: San Diego, 72.1%
Projected ATS win: San Diego -1, 69.2%
This game is an easy call: take SD -1 all day. At 69.2%, the Chargers are a “lock” to cover their -1 spread.