Every once in awhile, an opponent has your number and there's little that can be done about it. For Peyton Manning, that opponent is the San Diego Chargers.
Manning has come out with just as many wins as the Chargers (four), but he hasn't put up his regular MVP-like numbers. In fact, his 75.8 rating in games against San Diego is the second-lowest against any team.
Monday night provides another opportunity for Manning to turn it around against one of his nemeses. Will he get it done?
The Denver Broncos Will Have Trouble Running the Ball
Willis McGahee has rolled over his 2011 performance into a solid start to the season, but the wheels are starting to loosen a bit. His 4.5-yards-per-attempt average is a product of running well when the Broncos aren't taking on a particularly tough team.
San Diego will not be enabling McGahee's front-running ways. The Chargers boast the fifth-best rushing defense as they only allow 74 yards per game.
Denver will have trouble moving the rock on the ground, making things even more difficult for Manning. The passing lanes will become more clogged, the play-action game will be non-existent and the Chargers defensive line will be coming.
Demaryius Thomas Won't Help Him
Thomas has been the ultimate boom-or-bust player. He can break off a large gain only to fumble while running to the end zone.
Nothing can kill an offense's momentum like a blown opportunity. Dropped passes and improperly-run routes will find a wide receiver in the doghouse and the offense on the sideline.
That's what Peyton has with Thomas. He trusts him to an extent, but there is something missing. The lack of actual chemistry will hurt the Broncos against the Chargers and moving forward.
The Chargers Will Continue To Be Terrible Hosts
For all the fanfare headed into the season, the Broncos aren't much more than a mediocre team. The class of the AFC West resides in San Diego and the Chargers will continue their march towards the division title at Denver's expense.
The difference is that Philip Rivers has a more complete team around him than Manning. The future Hall of Famer may be one of the best to ever walk to a postgame podium, but he can't do it all by himself.