In past seasons when the Chargers were able to turn things around, it
usually involved improved play from the offensive line. I think this
line is giving all it has, but in addition the left side of the line,
the play of the Center Nick Hardwick has been in steady decline. I
don't see how this offensive line will be able to turn things around
enough to win this game.
Denver might be missing their DE Elvis Dumervil which will help things
a bit, but the Denver offense has improved a lot from their first half
of the first game against the Chargers. It's up to the two best
athletes on the Defense LBs Donald Butler and Melvin Ingram to get the
pressure needed. I expect to see 5 rushers in most passing situations,
assuming the Chargers' coaching staff learned how bad an idea it is to
rush 3 as they did in the 2nd half of the last Denver game on a key
3rd and long that Denver converted.
Rivers might have some help from the new target WR Danario Alexander.
Denver's defenses' weakness is the high throws that Rivers used to
routinely make, and he will need to make those throws. He has improved
in the short passing game, but the problem is that Norv didn't give
him enough chances throughout the career to make the quick throws. One
bad running play and a missed short pass brings up those 3rd and longs
which have spelled disaster in the 2nd half of games.
Even if the Chargers manage to pull off an upset tomorrow, I don't see
how they can move the ball well enough to get to the playoffs without
a healthy Jared Gaither. Norv is hesitant to keep 6 blockers in at all
times in passing situations, and Rivers isn't making tight downfield
throws as often as he used to.
Predictions on the season: 6-3