Everyone gripes about Thursday Night Football yet we watch every week without fail. Guess that makes us hypocrites. Or losers with nothing better to do. Whichever option involves more alcohol is the preferred for me.
Anyway, it’s the last Thursday night NFL game until September so we might as well savor it.
Given how awful the AFC West was just two seasons ago when the 8-8 Broncos won the division, it would be amusing for it to produce both of the conference’s Wild Card teams this year. Of course, for that to happen, the Chargers would likely need to win out and get a bit of help. Considering the first part of that equation involves winning on the road in Denver, I’m not super confident that San Diego can pull it off.
After two statistically subpar seasons, Philip Rivers is back among the highest rated quarterbacks in the league this season. Part of that has to do with improved pass protection after being sacked 49 times in 2012 (he’s only been sacked 24 times so far this year). Another big factor is the arrival of Keenan Allen, who had a solid case for being the 2013 Offensive Rookie of the Year. He needs just 98 yards to top 1,000 on the season.
Meanwhile, Peyton Manning is six touchdowns short of setting the single-season touchdown pass record. In all likelihood, he should take a decent chunk out of that gap tonight, as the Chargers 28th ranked pass defense is plenty vulnerable. Peyton had four touchdown passes in the teams’ first meeting in San Diego. Really, the worst things going on with Pey-Pey is that his ankle hurts and football writers are trolling him with the “Peyton struggles in cold weather” narrative.
The stakes are still high for the Broncos, who are trying to hold off the Patriots’ attempt to snatch homefield advantage out from under them and, to a lesser extent, the Chiefs’ stealing the AFC West title. While the Chargers had success tormenting Peyton Manning early in Rivers’ career (including two wins over the Colts in the playoffs in consecutive years), San Diego has yet to get the best of Pey-Pey since he arrived in Denver.