|11-17-2006, 02:19 PM||#1|
Long live the Mane!
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: Silt, Colorado
John Claton's view on the game
First … San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
Unless you believe the Jets will pressure the Patriots for the AFC East title, which is still a little unlikely, the best and only race left in the AFC is in the AFC West.
As expected, the Chargers and Broncos are in a dogfight that should last until the end of the season. The Chargers won the division in 2004 but fell short of the playoffs last year because of one of the league's toughest schedules. This season, the schedule is significantly easier and the Chargers are in a dead heat with the Broncos at 7-2.
The first battle between the two is Sunday night in Denver, with a rematch scheduled Dec. 10 in San Diego. There is some predictability to this series (the home team usually wins) and the way the games are played. The Broncos have won the past six games in Denver while the Chargers have won four of the last five in San Diego.
In Denver's most recent wins at home, Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer usually escapes the pocket and works his magic. In their recent home wins, the Chargers have contained Plummer in the pocket with their 3-4 defense. Restricted to the pocket, Plummer is pretty much a 50 percent passer, not tall enough to see completely over the line and not the most accurate when he's not throwing out of the three-step drop in the pocket.
The Chargers will have a hard time restricting Plummer in the pocket because they'll be without one -- possibly two -- of their best defensive players. Linebacker Shawne Merriman is just halfway through his four-game suspension for the use of a supplement and defensive end Luis Castillo is nursing a high ankle sprain and is questionable. Without both players, the Chargers gave up 41 points Sunday in a victory over the Bengals.
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
Averaging 33 points a game, LT and Philip Rivers have had plenty to celebrate. But Mike Shanahan doesn't come into this game with a confident offense. The Broncos are averaging only 17.6 points a game and have just 17 touchdown drives in 107 possessions. Shanahan is getting impatient. He's juggled running backs. Last week, he benched right tackle George Foster and running back Mike Bell.
Though Plummer has played a little better in recent weeks, his numbers pale in comparison to the Chargers' Philip Rivers. Plummer has completed only 55.2 percent of his passes and has a 71.6 quarterback rating. In nine games, Plummer has put only 28 points on the board in the first quarter.
The Chargers, thanks to Rivers and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron, lead the league with a 33-point scoring average. Rivers has a 66.4 completion percentage and a 100.4 quarterback rating. LaDainian Tomlinson has 16 rushing touchdowns and 18 total.
Will this be a defensive game or an offensive shootout? It's hard to tell. Shanahan and Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer have been dominating the AFC West for two decades. Schottenheimer had the winning formula in Kansas City that usually put the Chiefs in the playoffs. He did it with great defense and solid running.
Though he started the regular season with a conservative form of MartyBall, Schottenheimer has opened it up for Rivers now that the first-year starter has shown he can handle the complexities of the passing offense. This game should be a classic.
Last edited by FantomForce; 11-17-2006 at 02:21 PM.. Reason: add link
|11-17-2006, 02:28 PM||#3|
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Saratoga, NY
NFL's big game: Chargers-Broncos for top spot
Another story, didn't think it deserved a new thread.....
By Skip Wood, USA TODAY
In what has become a back-and-forth exercise in must-see TV, NFL style, the AFC has serve this weekend with its offering of the San Diego Chargers' visit to the Denver Broncos. Just last weekend, there was the Chicago Bears-New York Giants NFC tilt, and the week before that featured the Indianapolis Colts-New England Patriots AFC showdown.
Not only is the latest blockbuster a clash between longtime rivals who have met twice a season every year since 1960, it also carries an extra bit of motivation for the West Division members, as Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson is quick to note.
"The motivation is for first place — that's motivation in itself," he says. "Two teams that are 7-2, playing for the top of their division."
Originally scheduled for an afternoon start, the game had enough appeal to be shifted in prime time, where NBC has the honors at 8:15 Sunday night.
Broncos quarterback Jake Plummer admits there is a whiff of postseason intensity in the air.
"It's a statement game," he says. "They're playing really well. We've had our spurts. It's going to be a fun one to go into.
"That doesn't mean whoever wins is going to be the Super Bowl champ, but it'll put you one step above that guy."
In recent seasons, the Chargers have taken mostly awkward steps in their trips to Denver. San Diego hasn't won there since 1999.
"They have made plays to get themselves going," Tomlinson says, "and then once their crowd gets behind them, it's really difficult to play there."
And that suits Denver coach Mike Shanahan just fine.
"It is a very big game in our backyard," he says, "so hopefully we take advantage of it."
|11-17-2006, 02:41 PM||#4|
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Florence, Colorado
All of them.
|11-17-2006, 02:45 PM||#5|
Ring of Famer
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Trinidad Colorado
Im so pumped for this game!!! John Clayton said this could be a classic and people are calling this the game of the week. Im so pumped! This is the biggest game of the year for us this far.
I expect the atmosphere/crowd at Mile High to be playoff typical. Im going to this game and will be in the south stands. I plan on being very loud and obnoxious, and I assume the rest the stadium will be to.