The Broncos are heading to San Diego this time, and with Tebow leading the way, this Denver squad feels like it can beat anybody. That includes a Chargers' team that is struggling to stay in contention in an extremely competitive AFC West.
It's been a long time since the Broncos have been in the power position for this matchup. With Philip Rivers leading one of the NFL's best vertical passing attacks, San Diego has dominated Denver in recent years.
When the Chargers squeaked out a win at the beginning of the season, it seemed like more of the same in Denver, as many people wrote off the Broncos for good.
They had a horrible quarterback crisis, the defense couldn't stop a nosebleed and the loss dropped them to 1-4 on the season.
Now, things have all changed.
Tebow has been the knight in shining armor for the Broncos. He has helped Denver reel off three consecutive wins, and the Broncos are 4-1 with the University of Florida product under center. The run game has been remarkably effective and the pass rush on defense has been relentless thanks to Rookie of the Year candidate Von Miller.
In Week 12, a hot Broncos team is going to knock off an ice-cold Chargers team—here are five reasons why.
It's the same old story for Malcom Floyd: "If only he could stay healthy..."
Well, I think it's safe to say we are past that point. The physically gifted wide receiver has played a full 16-game season just once in his seven-year NFL career, and this season has been no different.
A hip injury has destroyed his season.
His injury is a huge relief for Broncos' fans.
In their Week 5 matchup, Floyd went off for 100 yards on just three catches, including a 42-yard touchdown reception. His presence is key against the Broncos, because Vincent Jackson, San Diego's No. 1 option, is practically invisible against legendary cornerback Champ Bailey.
With Bailey neutralizing Jackson, Floyd becomes Philip Rivers' go-to target.
This week, with Floyd out, it's Antonio Gates or bust.
In football, there has always been the question about how important head coaches really are. Is it the head coach who makes the players great, or is it the players who make the coach great?
As is usual in life, it is a little bit of both.
Great coaches, like John Fox, take the players they have and squeeze every last drop of potential out of them. They make bad teams look good, and they make good teams look great.
Bad coaches, like Norv Turner, do the opposite. They destroy potential, and they can make even the best teams look mediocre—just like the San Diego Chargers.
Turner has been on the hot seat for years now, and this season may just be the straw that breaks general manager A.J. Smith's back. They have to fire Norv before it's too late.
For Coach Fox and the Denver Broncos, this season has been better than anyone could have imagined. The offensive game plan that he has implemented for Tim Tebow is brilliant, and Fox deserves a lion's share of the credit for Denver's success thus far.
Turner, on the other hand, could be out of the NFL at seasons end.
Last time these two met, the San Diego Chargers had won three of their last four, with their only loss coming at Gillette Stadium against the New England Patriots. They were considered one of the top teams in the AFC, and with the Kansas City Chiefs starting the season miserably (1-3), the Bolts were in the drivers seat for the AFC West title.
At the time, the Denver Broncos were in bad shape. Kyle Orton was getting crushed as the starter, and fans were clamoring for Tim Tebow harder than ever before. The pressure was mounting for Denver to insert the fan-favorite, despite the Broncos' organization's clear preference for Orton over Tebow.
The game against the Chargers changed everything.
San Diego may have won the game, but with Tebow's solid performance after his insertion in the second half, it was impossible to keep No. 15 out of the starting lineup any longer.
Since then, the Bolts have lost five straight, and the Broncos have won four of five.
Tebow is the savior in Denver, and Philip Rivers is turning into Tony Romo II in San Diego. All hell has broken lose for the Chargers, and with no identity, and bad coaching, this super-talented team is going to find itself out of the playoffs.
Denver has all the momentum in the world coming into Sunday's game.
The Denver Broncos run the football on nearly every play. The San Diego Chargers can't stop the run. Pretty simple math.
With Tim Tebow at quarterback, a rejuvenated Willis McGahee at running back and a terrific offensive line, the Broncos have been successful running the ball week in and week out. The Chargers' defense is ranked 22nd in the NFL in rushing yards per game, and 21st in the NFL in yards per carry.
The Broncos' offense, meanwhile, is ranked fourth in the NFL in both rushing yards per game, and yards per carry.
I am expecting a big game from the Broncos' rushing attack if you aren't catching my drift.
Against a Chargers' team that thrives through the air on offense, a solid running game to keep Philip Rivers off the field is one of the best ways to neutralize San Diego's aerial assault. Just like when teams play against Tom Brady or Aaron Rodgers, establishing an effective running game is just about the most important thing a team can do.
If McGahee can get back on track this week—he was awful last week, rushing for 18 yards on 12 carries with a fumble lost—then Denver should be able to control the clock, and in essence, the game.
For whatever reason, Tim Tebow is an amazing player in the fourth quarter of tight games. Philip Rivers could learn a thing or two.
For every time that Tebow has made something out of nothing at the end of a game this season, Rivers has made nothing out of something. Tebow makes comebacks for his team, while Rivers aids comebacks for the opposing team.
There is something to be said for Tebow's fourth-quarter wizardry, especially in a game I expect to go down to the wire.
Ask yourself this: with the game on the line, which quarterback would you prefer?
Broncos 24, Chargers 23