The Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers are about to battle for first place in the AFC West on Monday Night Football.
At 3-2, the Chargers stand alone atop the division, but that can all change after their game with the Broncos. A win for Denver would put them at 3-3, giving them a share of the lead.
Peyton Manning has played well in his first five games with the Broncos, but hasn’t gotten much support. He’s second among starters with a 101 quarterback rating. The veteran has thrown for 1,499 yards, 11 touchdowns and three interceptions.
Manning was expected to join a team that had a strong running game and defense, but neither has proven to be true in 2012. Alongside unproven receivers, Denver’s rushing attack has been subpar. The Broncos are 19th in the NFL with 101.2 yards per game on the ground.
Denver’s defense has failed Manning, forcing to him to face large deficits in all three of the team’s losses. The Broncos have fallen behind by three scores in three of their last four contests.
The Chargers got off to a fast start, but have had trouble against quality competition. San Diego’s wins have come against opponents with a combined record of 4-13. They fell to both the Saints and Falcons.
Phillip Rivers has improved, after a disappointing 2011 campaign. His 93.1 quarterback rating is good for ninth in the NFL.
Ryan Matthews could have a big game at running back. He’s been very good when given the ball in 2012, picking up 5.1 yards per carry. He didn’t start the previous two games, in favor of Jackie Battle.
The matchup will be broadcast on ESPN at 8:30 p.m. from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. You can watch a live stream online for free at espn3.com.
Betting Line: San Diego PK, 47.5
Prediction: Both the Broncos and Chargers have proven to be very easily matched. Denver has been able to take care of teams that they should beat, and San Diego has had trouble with some of the tougher teams. Manning should be able to do enough to put the Broncos at .500.
Predicted Score: Denver 28, San Diego 24