By Dave Thomas

For the San Diego Chargers, the schedule over the next several weeks will go a long way in determining whether or not they break their three-year playoff drought.

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DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 27: Quarterback Peyton Manning #18 of the Denver Broncos changes the play during a game against the Washington Redskins at Sports Authority Field Field at Mile High on October 27, 2013 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

(Credit, Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)

This past Sunday, the Bolts had a chance to go into this coming weekend’s match up with the rival Denver Broncos on a high, but a 30-24 overtime defeat at Washington derailed such plans. As a result, San Diego carries a 4-4 mark into its meeting with Peyton Manning and Co.

Having their bye weekend, the Broncos were likely more concerned with the news they got off the field, as head coach John Fox was informed he needed heart surgery this week. As a result, current Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio (a former head coach in Jacksonville) was named the team’s interim head coach until Fox can return. According to a number of reports, Fox will be sidelined for at least several weeks following the heart procedure.

Manning, Broncos Nearly Perfect

Back on the field, Denver comes into Sunday’s game in San Diego with a mark of 7-1, having only slipped up a few weeks back in a wild 39-33 loss at Indianapolis. That game of course marked the return of Manning to the home of the Colts, the place where he established himself for so many years as one of the greatest quarterbacks to play the game.

Following their loss to the Colts, Denver bounced back a week ago this past Sunday, though it certainly was not easy. Trailing at home to Washington by a 21-7 score, the Broncos ran off 38 unanswered points to hand the Redskins their fifth loss of the season.

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Heading into the meeting with the Chargers, Manning of course dominates the news on the offensive side of the ball for Denver.

To date, the future Hall-of-Famer has throw this season for 2,919 yards and a ridiculous 29 touchdowns. At the pace Manning is at, while it is certainly not a given, he could very well be taking home the MVP trophy at season’s end. For Manning, however, hoisting the Lombardi Trophy come February is likely more on his mind.

Some other Broncos that are having solid seasons with the pigskin include running back Knowshown Moreno (456 yards rushing, eight TDs), wide receiver Wes Welker (50 receptions, 555 yards, nine touchdowns), DeMarius Thomas (48 catches, 685 yards, six TDs), Eric Decker (46 receptions, 669 yards, three TDs) and Julius Thomas (39 catches, 451 yards and eight touchdowns). As you can clearly see with Denver’s passing game, Manning is certainly not shy about spreading the wealth around.

On the defensive side of the ball, Denver is led to date by former Charger Shaun Phillips (6.5 sacks), Danny Trevathan (59 total tackles) and Chris Harris (three interceptions).

With dates the following three weekends versus Miami (road), unbeaten Kansas City (road) and AFC North leading Cincinnati (home), the Chargers will likely have a good idea as to whether or not they will be breaking that three-year playoff drought come January.

For more Chargers news and updates, visit Chargers Central.

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Dave Thomas has been covering the sports world since his first job as a sports editor for a weekly newspaper in Pennsylvania back in 1989. He has covered a Super Bowl, college bowl games, MLB, NBA and more. His work can be found on