The 4:05pm EST kickoff this week sees the second of two games between these two teams and with two games separating them, the title is likely to go to the winner, and the loser is likely to find themselves still in good position for an AFC Wild Card spot. The last time these two teams met was at Sports Authority Field and saw the Denver Broncos defeat the San Diego Chargers by a score of 35-21. This was also when the San Diego Chargers and Denver Broncos were both dealing with injuries to their respective offensive and defensive lines.
At the time of the previous meeting between these two teams, starting Running Back Ryan Mathews was still dealing with his sprained MCL. Also missing from that meeting between the two teams was Running Back Donald Butler, Cornerback Brandon Flowers, and Inside Linebacker Manti Te'o for the Chargers. The Broncos were without Running Back Montee Ball, who has recently been placed on Injured Reserve ending his season, and also Cornerback Omar Bolden.
Looking forward to this week's game between these two teams, there are some very important "Keys to the Game" that are going to be important for the Chargers to be able to rebound from the loss against the New England Patriots last week, and win this matchup against the Broncos. San Diego Chargers website managing editor Ricky Henne states the biggest keys to the game are going to be to give Keenan Allen the chance to have another big game for the Chargers. He had a few huge games in the prior weeks leading up to this game, and may have another since Ryan Mathews is once again injured and questionable to go on Sunday.
Another important key to the game is going to be for the defense of the Chargers to pressure Peyton and get him outside of the pocket. The Chargers were not able to do this in the first meeting between these two teams, and Peyton made them pay for it and eventually came out with the win. Peyton is among the most accurate of Quarterbacks when he is given time to stand up in the pocket and survey the field to try to the best play. What might help the Chargers get to Peyton and pressure him is having Melvin Ingram, Jeremiah Attaochu, and also Manti Te'o back on the defensive line and at Defensive Coordinator John Pagano's play calling to help the defense.
This will definitely be an interesting matchup between these two teams, and if the season ends the way it is going right now, could see these two teams meet in their respective paths to the Super Bowl.