Broncos vs. Chargers: Why This Game is a Must-Win for Both Teams

Thomas ConroyCorrespondent INovember 27, 2011

DENVER, CO - OCTOBER 09:  Quarterback Philip Rivers #17 of the San Diego Chargers runs the offense against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on October 9, 2011 in Denver, Colorado. The Chargers defeated the Broncos 29-24.  (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

A lot has happened since the last time the Denver Broncos played the San Diego Chargers: Former starting quarterback Kyle Orton is playing in Kansas City, the Bolts are in the midst of a five-game losing streak and the Broncos have unveiled their radical option-running attack on the NFL. This Sunday’s encounter in San Diego is very important for both teams, as the winner could set themselves up for a possible playoff berth.

Here is why this game is a must-win for both teams:

If the Broncos win, then you will have to start giving some credit to Tim Tebow. Since taking over the starting job on a 1-4 team, he has won 4-of-5 starts and made the Broncos relevant once again in the AFC West. Combined with an Oakland Raiders defeat to the Chicago Bears, they could be tied atop of the division with a victory on Sunday.

You can criticize Tebow on his completion percentage or the way he passes a football, but his end results have been very effective on the field. It hasn’t been pretty at times, but all he does is score touchdowns and win games.

Coming into this contest, the Chargers have dominated the Broncos (9-2 record since 2005) more than any other AFC West divisional opponent. Each year, Philip Rivers has been able to consistently slice and dice Denver’s defense, but winning this game could be a vital building block in the redevelopment of the Broncos franchise.

Yes, San Diego is fading fast in the standings, but Rivers is still a lethal passer despite being in the midst of the worst season of his career. Broncos pass-rushers Elvis Dumervil and Von Miller must harass him in the pocket all afternoon and not allow Rivers an opportunity to hurt them through the air.

It’s unrealistic to expect the Chargers to score a lot points against the tough Broncos defense. Their running game is nonexistent due to the offensive line being decimated by injuries. Another loss will allow the Chargers to use the remainder of the season to further evaluate their young talent on the roster.

The harsh reality is their window to win a Super Bowl has closed, and team management must make the rebuilding process as painless as possible for their loyal fans. A lack of planning for the future by the front office has hurt this franchise, as they aren’t one player away, but rather four or five players away from contention.

The Chargers still have winnable games on the schedule, as a lot could happen between now and the end of the season. But, that will depend heavily on whether they can get hot and string together a couple of good performances.

Right now, the Chargers are going nowhere.