Can the Chargers slow down Peyton Manning and the Broncos’ offence?
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High
When: 01.25 (GMT)
Watch live: Click here to watch on NowTV from Sky!
Any mid-season signs of the Denver Broncos’ offense coming down to Earth have been silenced by their big numbers in consecutive weeks against respectable defenses.
The San Diego Chargers have fit that description the last two weeks, and their slim playoff hopes now hinge on containing Peyton Manning on Thursday night and handing the Broncos their first home loss of the season.
The Broncos (11-2) are in the AFC West driver’s seat after clinching a playoff spot and putting up a season-high 551 yards in Sunday’s 51-28 win over Tennessee. Their 1,086 offensive yards in the last two weeks is their best two-game stretch of the season.
Wrapping up a postseason berth doesn’t change much for the team going into Week 15.
At 6-7 following Sunday’s 37-14 home win over the New York Giants, the Chargers don’t have any room for error in their final three games.
Peyton Manning has thrown for 800 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions in the last two weeks, and his 39 completions against the Titans set a team record. With 45 TDs on the season, he is five shy of matching Tom Brady’s single-season record from 2007 — which eclipsed Manning’s then-record of 49 set with Indianapolis in 2004.
He can match that personal best with another big performance — he’s thrown at least four TDs seven times this season — though he’ll likely have to do so without one of his top targets, Wes Welker. The slot receiver is doubtful for this contest after leaving Sunday’s game with his second concussion in four games.
The Broncos, however, have relied on plenty of weapons this season. Welker scored against the Titans, making the Broncos the first team in NFL history to have four players with at least 10 touchdowns.
Tight end Julius Thomas returned from a two-game absence due to a knee injury and caught his 11th TD pass of the year to join Demaryius Thomas for the receiving team lead and set a franchise record for tight ends in just 11 games.
Running back Knowshon Moreno leads Denver with 12 overall — 10 rushing and two receiving.