Peyton Manning will experience the rivalry between the Denver Broncos and the San Diego Chargers for the first time on Monday Night Football, and he will need to be one of several Broncos who performs at a high level in order for the team to win on the road.
On Monday night, the Chargers will be tested, and there are three key matchups that will allow the Broncos to win the primetime showdown.
Broncos Edge Rushers vs. Chargers Offensive Tackles
Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil form one of the most daunting pair of pass rushers in the NFL, and both have been playing extremely well this season.
Miller has five sacks on the season and has been a menacing presence for opposing quarterbacks in each of Denver’s games while Dumervil has contributed three more sacks.
The Chargers offensive line has allowed Philip Rivers to be taken down 14 times, which is tied for sixth in the NFL. The San Diego blockers have not done an atrocious job of protecting Rivers, but it has not excelled either.
Heading into the Monday night matchup, the Chargers offensive line faces significant questions about its ability to contain Miller and Dumervil. If these edge rushers can disrupt Rivers’ rhythm, it will lead to a Denver victory.
Peyton Manning vs. His History Against the Chargers
Manning has struggled against the Chargers in the past, and he must not let this pattern follow him from Indianapolis to Denver.
As ESPN notes, he is 1-5 in his last six games against San Diego with 11 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. He has also lost both of his postseason battles with San Diego.
But now, Manning simply has to win a division battle against the Chargers. He has a quarterback rating of 101.0 this season after throwing for 1,499 yards, 11 touchdowns and just three interceptions.
The Chargers are allowing 260 yards per game through the air, which ranked 20th in the NFL heading into Week 6. Despite Manning’s history with San Diego, this is a favorable matchup for him and he will continue to play well.
Champ Bailey vs. Chargers Receivers
The Broncos will move Champ Bailey around and use him to limit the Chargers offense.
ESPN’s Gary Horton praised Bailey’s play this season and wrote:
He has the physicality to cover a tight end, he can line up wide and take on the best wideout without help, he can play inside over the slot, and he can play man or zone. His instincts and ball skills are off the charts, and he can be effective as a blitzer.
Bailey will be used to take Malcom Floyd’s deep routes away, while also occasionally being tasked with guarding Antonio Gates. The cornerback will also get familiar with Rivers once the Chargers offensive line starts to worry too much about Miller and Dumervil.