DENVER — I am fully aware how hot the Chargers are right now. San Diego has won six of the last seven including a playoff victory on the road at Cincinnati. Oh yeah, and a dominant win at Denver on Dec. 12.
One month later, when the two meet at Sports Authority Field again, I think the Broncos won’t have many problems against them.
I would call San Diego the “team of destiny” if they were playing any other team. At New England? I think they could win that. Against the Colts or Chiefs? I would pick the Chargers.
Unfortunately for the Bolts, I believe they are going to run into a buzz saw.
The Broncos are going to dominate this team early like the first meeting in California. Maybe San Diego will make a run like they did in that first meeting, but I just don’t see Denver losing this game.
The difference between the loss at Mile High and this time around is rest. An older team like Denver clearly struggled in the Thursday game. It was really the only game all season where they didn’t look like the Broncos. Even in their other two losses (at the Colts, at the Patriots), they still were in the game. It just never felt like the Broncos had a chance against the Chargers when they lost the lead.
San Diego is coming off an emotional win in the cold and rain at Cincinnati. The Broncos are coming off a bye and Peyton Manning has been resting since halftime of the Oakland game.
I was in the locker room Monday and this team is ready. They wish they could play now. They are hungry. They don’t want to joke around or really want to talk to the media. They just want to focus on getting to the AFC Championship game.
They are using that loss to the Ravens as fuel. I know many are scared this will be a repeat of the Baltimore game, but I’m telling you. This team won’t let that happen again.
Peyton Manning’s amazing season will continue in the playoffs. He’s a man on a mission who will operate the no-huddle to perfection this time around. The Chargers held him to quite a few consecutive three and outs.
That’s not going to happen this time around.
His weapon down the middle, Wes Welker, is back. The receiving corps is the best in the NFL. Julius Thomas is healthy. Knowshon Moreno and Montee Ball have looked pretty good as a one-two punch. The offensive line, even without star left tackle Ryan Clady, has been impressive. The offense will put up over 35 points.
Yes the defense is a concern.
They are without Von Miller, Kevin Vickerson, Derek Wolfe and Rahim Moore. That hurts, but Champ Bailey is healthy.
The secondary is pretty solid and if that line can shut down that three-headed monster of a run game, the corners and safeties will take care of their receivers. Denver’s D may give up 25 points, but again I just see Manning and the offense putting up way more than that.
One more thing. The weather is supposed to be nice, unlike the loss to the Ravens last year.
If there’s minimal wind, Manning will throw all over the place.
Again, he’s a man on a mission.
My prediction: Broncos 38 Chargers 25