Two underachieving powerhouses go head to head to head at Qualcomm Stadium, when Peyton Manning’s Denver take on Phillip River’s Chargers.
Denver Broncos (2 – 3) @ San Diego Chargers (3 – 2)
Denver come in off the back of hard fought 31-21 loss to the New England Patriots, despite a late Peyton Manning rally which almost salvaged something from a desperately poor position at 31 – 7 down.
Although it would have helped if Willis McGahee could keep hold of the ball, which he vividly failed to do when he fumbled and allowed Jermaine Cunningham to recover at the New England 11 with 3:42 remaining.
San Diego gave the Saints their first win of the season last week, as despite a hugely advantageous position afforded by a 10 point lead in the third quarter, turnovers proved costly, despite Rivers Philip Rivers passed for 354 yards and two touchdowns, fashioned two costly turnovers in the final quarter.
"I can't tell you how tough it is to lose a game like this," Rivers said. "We were right there. We were up by 10 points and just didn't get it done. We have a great team, a championship calibre team. But we have to win close games like this."
The first late turnover was Roman Harper's interception and 41-yard return on a pass tipped by fellow safety Malcolm Jenkins. That set up the Saints' final score on Garrett Hartley's field goal. San Diego (3-2) still had a chance to tie in the final minute until defensive end Martez Wilson stripped Rivers and recovered the fumble to seal the victory.
The Saints' defense, which entered the game ranked least in the league, had a hand in the victory not only with the turnovers but five sacks.
Verdict: With both teams showing a propensity to turn the ball over of late, questions over Peyton’s arm strength, this, like the Packers – Houston clash could prove too close to call, as both teams rank 12th and 13th respectively on total defence. The Chargers have conceded, on average 12. 4 points and 334.0 yards per game, as for the Broncos, they’ve shipped 22.8 points, and 335.2 yards per game.
That being said, San Diego are ranked 24th on total offense with 24.8 points scored and 334.8 yards gained, whereas Manning’s Broncos have chalked up an average of 27 points and 388.4 yards, and sit 6th overall in the rankings. With this in mind, it would appear, despite the miniscule difference in terms of defensive performance, the massive gulf in offensive ranking gives Denver the advantage, but Rivers 4 – 1 record against Peyton Manning could yet prove highly significant in rendering that statistic a minor insignificance and provide a major say on the outcome of this deeply intriguing match – up. The plot thickens…
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