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NFL Broncos at Chargers Preview

December 10, 2006

NFL - Denver Broncos at San Diego Chargers (-9) 4:15 PM EST

Sunday's late game features an important AFC contest between Denver and San Diego. These teams met just three weeks ago with the Chargers winning, and since then, their fortunes have gone in completely opposite directions.

San Diego has continued its success and in now tied atop the conference standings at 10-2. They are the NFL's highest scoring team and a 7-point favorite over the Broncos, who've lost three straight. Sunday's first game performance by new QB Jay Cutler was ugly and he'll need to turn it around quickly or his teams playoff hopes will fade fast.

Last time out, a pair of 7-2 teams met in the Mile High City looking to take command of first place in the AFC West. Denver appeared the sure winner with 24-7 halftime lead. Thirty minutes later San Diego charged out of Invesco Field the victor and continues to build on its margin.

The Chargers have the best offense in the league at 31.4 PPG and the best two players in the NFL on each side of the ball in LaDainian Tomlinson and Shawne Merriman. LT is a given as MVP and Merriman would have won the defensive MVP except for his suspension.

Coach Mike Shanahan took a calculated risk in going to Jay Cutler as his quarterback. More often then not he played like a rookie last week in loss to Seattle. Shanahan knows his young signal caller needs to be protected not just by the offensive line, but by the whole team.

In the Broncos three game losing streak, the defense has been a big letdown. Earlier the Denver "D" was being hailed as one of the finest in recent memory, blah, blah, blah. One thing to always remember about fast, yet smallish defensives, they need to get off the field, because they will wear down. With Denver's offensive ineffectiveness this is hot happening.

The Broncos have had success in SoCal with 6-2-1 ATS mark. Yet it would seem arduous for Denver to come to San Diego with a rookie quarterback making just his second start, with pass rush as domineering as the Bolts and leave with a win or cover. Consider San Diego is 7-2-1 ATS at home playing a team with a winning road record.

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