A collision with the top spot in the AFC West to contend for as new touchdown record holder Peyton Manning leads the Denver Broncos in a home game against the San Diego Chargers with Philip Rivers, both teams hoping the short rest doesn’t affect them.
The Denver Broncos might be as tired as the San Diego Chargers from having just four days of rest, but it’s not quite a similar situation. The Chargers have played seven games and have yet to get their bye week rest this season, unlike the Broncos. They’re also playing on the road, while the Broncos have a second consecutive game at home following their win over the San Francisco 49ers.
The focus, as in every game, will be about possibly the two best quarterbacks in the NFL so far this season. According to ESPN, Rivers and Manning share the number one and two sports according to their QBR through the first seven weeks of football. They’ve both been highly productive and accurate: Rivers has thrown for 17 touchdowns passes while being intercepted three times only, completing 67.4% of his passes. Manning has also been intercepted just three times, throwing 19 touchdown passes and completing 68.7% of his passes.
Following breaking the record with four touchdown passes against the 49ers, the Broncos are facing probably a more difficult challenge. The Chargers beat the Broncos in Denver last season (but lost in the playoffs), as Rivers and the offense did a very good job of controlling the clock and keeping Manning off the field. It didn’t work out so well for them in the loss last week to the Kansas City Chiefs, but even with two losses, they’re been for a combined margin of 4 points, which means the Chargers have yet to be beaten in a one-sided game.
For the Chargers to have that kind of success, it’ll be up to Branden Oliver to continue with his good season, filling in for the injured Ryan Mathews. Oliver has so far rushed for 316 yards with two touchdowns, averaging 4.7 yards per carry. He was held to 67 yards in the loss to the Chiefs, but had two games of over 100 yards heading into that loss. The Broncos are doing a great job in slowing down the run this season, allowing just 74.3 yards per game, but both teams focus a lot more on moving the ball in the air.
The Broncos are also playing with a backup running back in Ronnie Hillman who has 240 yards on 55 carries with two touchdowns, averaging 4.4 yards per carry. The ball doesn’t go through him a lot, but the Broncos have more than one way of controlling the clock, although their goal is scoring and quickly, regardless of how late it is in the game.