By Dave Thomas
With back-to-back wins under their belts, the Los Angeles Chargers look to make it three straight this Sunday when they host the AFC West rival Denver Broncos.
After four straight losses, the Chargers got off the snide two weekends ago with a win on the road over the New York Giants. Flash-forward a week later and the Bolts were able to escape Oakland with a 17-16 victory. Now, can the Chargers make the Broncos their third straight victim?
Broncos Not Living Up To Capabilities
For a team only two seasons removed from winning the Super Bowl, the Denver Broncos sit at 3-2 after five games.
On paper, you can argue that Denver has one of the greatest—if not the best—defenses in the league. Yes, their offense is pedestrian at best, but other teams have won Super Bowls over the years with less than stellar offensive capabilities.
In their 23-10 loss this past Sunday evening at home to the previously winless New York Giants, the Broncos were only able to put one touchdown on the board. This coming after Los Angeles scored 27 points in its win in the Meadowlands a week earlier. While Denver did defeat Los Angeles 24-21 in the season opener in the Mile High City, it was a game the Chargers certainly could have won.
With Kansas City having lost this past Sunday for the first time this season, that opened a door for Denver to move a step closer in the AFC West race. Unfortunately for the Broncos, their loss to the Giants leaves them a game and a half back of the first-place Chiefs.
For Denver, the schedule after the Chargers won’t prove easy, as the Broncos have road tests in Kansas City and Philadelphia, respectively.
Can Chargers Win Over The Crowd?
Unless you’ve been under a rock to date this season, you know that the Chargers have had trouble drawing fans to their temporary home stadium in Carson, California. As such, one can expect there to be plenty of Denver fans come this Sunday afternoon.
Sporting an 0-3 record at home so far this season, the Bolts need to win as many of these home dates as possible. This is especially true given they still have road dates with Kansas City, Dallas and New England.
If Los Angeles can win the remaining five games at home on the schedule, that would give them seven total wins on the season. Steal a few more games on the road between now and the end of the regular season, and we could be looking at an AFC playoff team.
Major Injuries Avoided For Most Part
When you look around the NFL, major injuries have once again been a part of the storyline this season.
The most recent, of course, was Green Bay losing star QB Aaron Rodgers to a broken collarbone this past Sunday versus Minnesota. Although the Packers did leave the door slightly open to Rodgers possibly returning later in the season, his loss is one the Packers simply can’t replace.
Several other teams have also had to make adjustments, most notably ones at the quarterback position (Oakland, Indianapolis, Miami) as a result of recent injuries or ones that have lingered for some time now.
In looking at the Chargers, veteran quarterback Philip Rivers (1,633 yards passing, 10 TD’s, 5 INT’s so far this season) continues to show up and go to work each and every week. His durability during his career has certainly been a plus for the Bolts.
If Los Angeles can keep top players like Melvin Gordon (356 yards rushing, 3 TD’s, 4 receiving touchdowns), Keenan Allen (33 catches, 446 yards receiving) and others healthy the remainder of the way, snagging a playoff spot is certainly not out of the question.
With a pair of wins the last two weeks, the playoffs are now more than just talk for this team. That said, beating Denver on Sunday would certainly ramp up that discussion even more.