Three Keys for the Denver Broncos Versus the San Diego Chargers


The Denver Broncos can win their fourth straight AFC West Title with a win on Sunday versus the San Diego Chargers. The Broncos obviously have bigger goals in mind but winning should never be taken for granted, and four straight division championships would be a great accomplishment.

It should be noted that no matter what happens on Sunday, the Broncos are going to win the division at some point. It would take something just south of a miracle for the Chargers to win the west. The Chargers would have to win their last three and the Broncos would have to lose their last three, including to the Oakland Raiders at home in the season finale. In other words, it’s not happening.

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With that said, the Broncos would like to wrap up the division this week and move one step closer to clinching a first-round bye in the playoffs. Here are the keys for the Broncos to move to 11-3.

Throw the ball early: The Broncos have done a great job establishing the run over the past three weeks and the running game will continue to be a huge part of their offense going forward. However the game versus the Chargers might be a good place for the Broncos to get their passing game going again.

It looks like Julius Thomas is going to play and Demaryius Thomas is healthier than he was last week. Throw in the fact that the Chargers are probably going to come out and try to stop CJ Anderson, and force the Broncos to throw.

Look for Peyton Manning and the Broncos to try and get an early lead with the passing game, and then control the second half with Anderson and the running game. The Broncos are trying to find the right balance between the running game and the passing game before the playoffs start, and Sunday is another step towards that goal.

A Gap pressure: For those of you who do not know what the A gap is, it’s simple. It’s the space between the center and the guards. If you watched the Chargers game versus the New England Patriots last weekend, then you already know that the Chargers really struggle with middle pressure.

The Chargers are on their fourth center of the season and have had issues with middle pressure all season. The Broncos can take advantage of this with either their linebackers or their safeties.

Look for Brandon Marshall and/or TJ Ward to blitz through the A gap on multiple occasions, especially on third and long. The Broncos will probably move both DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller around in an effort to exploit the Chargers weakness in the middle of their offensive line. Middle pressure often leads to turnovers and turnovers lead to big wins on the road.

Special teams: Believe it or not, the Broncos have won the special teams battle in each of their last two wins. They featured a fake punt and five field goals in a road win over the Kansas City Chiefs two weeks ago, and both Brandon McManus and Britton Colquitt kept the Buffalo Bills backed up last week.

The Chargers will be without Mike Scifres, their All-Pro punter, and before you discount that because he’s just a punter, you need to understand that he often wins the field position battle for the Chargers all by himself. The Broncos need to take advantage of Scifres not being on the field.

Special teams is often the difference in big games and especially in the playoffs and the Broncos have been really good in that area over the last two weeks, they will need to continue that play going forward.

The Broncos have won three straight games and have turned things around since losing in St. Louis about a month ago. They will look to make it four straight on Sunday; both in terms of games and division titles.

The Chargers need this game to keep their playoff hopes alive and they will be motivated, especially early but the Broncos talent will eventually win out and they pull away in the second half.

Prediction: Broncos-30 Chargers-20