San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
Date and Time: Thursday, 10/23/14 at 8:30pm on CBS
Game Line: Denver Broncos -7.5 (from WagerWeb)
Thursday Night NFL Football Analysis: Peyton Manning set the NFL record for passing touchdowns on Sunday Night Football last week. With only a few days to prepare and the AFC West lead at stake, he and the Broncos get back to work as they host the Chargers on Thursday night. Manning threw four touchdowns in a 42-17 rout of San Francisco on Sunday to pass Brett Favre for the top spot on the all time list. Demaryius Thomas caught the record breaker then later added a 40 yard touchdown reception to run Manning’s total up to 510. That number could rise against San Diego, a team Manning has thrown a touchdown pass against in all 11 career meetings. Manning was 3-0 against San Diego with the Broncos before the Chargers defeated Denver 27-20 at Mile High Stadium on Dec. 12. Like the upcoming matchup, that game took place on a Thursday. The Chargers, though, might spend some time dwelling on that victory as they prepare for this week. Philip Rivers threw only 20 passes, completing 12 of them for 166 yards, as San Diego punished Denver with its ground game. Ryan Matthews ran 29 times for 127 yards and a touchdown, and the Chargers outrushed the Broncos 177-18 in ending a four-game losing streak to Denver. Mathews is sidelined with a sprained MCL, but Branden Oliver has successfully stepped into the lead role, rushing for 316 yards and two touchdowns while posting a 4.7 yards per carry average in three games as the feature back. Oliver will face a Broncos run defense that ranks third in the NFL with 74.3 yards allowed per game, significantly better than the team’s 101.6 mark of last season. Most of the damage against Denver has come through the air. The Broncos rank 18th in the NFL with 242.5 passing yards allowed per game, a welcome statistic for Rivers, who is 10-7 against Denver in his career but has struggled recently in the matchup. He’s thrown for more than 250 yards once and has seven touchdowns and six interceptions in the last four meetings. Rivers has 17 touchdowns, three interceptions and the third highest passer rating in the NFL, but he is also coming off his least productive game of the season. He went 17 of 31 for 205 yards, two touchdowns and one interception in a 23-20 loss to Kansas City on Sunday. The Chiefs limited Rivers’ and the Chargers’ opportunities by dominating time of possession 39:00-21:00. San Diego is fifth in the league in the category at 32:37.
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos Free NFL Picks: Chargers +8 and under 51
San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos Game Prediction: 24-20 Broncos
What to expect in this Week 8 NFL Football match up: If the San Diego Chargers are smart they will use the same formula they used to get a win at Mile High late last season, to run the football early and often. It’s nearly impossible to win an up and down shoot out against Manning and the Bronco offense, they only way to stay in the game is to run the ball effectively and slow the game down. If Oliver can see 25+ rushing attempts and continue to average 4.5 yards per carry or better it will help limit Manning’s chances to strike. The Bronco run defense is not as strong as they have played lately and if the Chargers can expose them just a little, this will be a close game.