Since 2002, the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers have combined to win the AFC West every year except 2010. This season is following that trend through seven weeks, with the two teams again at the top of the division. Denver leads by a half-game at 5-1 coming into its first matchup against the Chargers, who sit at 5-2. The teams split last year with each team winning its road game before the Broncos topped San Diego in the playoffs.
It's impossible to find a better quarterback battle than the one that will take place Thursday night. Philip Rivers is arguably the MVP of the season thus far, throwing 17 touchdowns against three interceptions. Rivers is third in the NFL with 1,961 passing yards and leads the league in yards per attempt at 8.53. Peyton Manning second at 8.52 yards per attempt. Manning has the best quarterback rating at 118.2 and is tied for the league-lead with 19 touchdowns, despite having only played six games. Demaryius Thomas has been the top target, hauling in 39 passes for 662 yards and six touchdowns.
For Rivers, he will need to hope tackles King Dunlap and D.J. Fluker are ready for another challenge. Last week, Tamba Hali and Justin Houston each recorded a sack and numerous pressures, helping the Kansas City Chiefs to a 23-20 win over the Chargers. This week, Dunlap and Fluker deal with Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, who have 15 sacks combined. San Diego's line has generally been solid, allowing only 11 sacks through seven games.
How to Watch
Where: Sports Authority Field, Denver, Colo.
When: 8:25 p.m. ET
TV: CBS, NFLN
Announcers: Jim Nantz, Phil Simms, Tracy Wolfson
For more on the Broncos, check out Mile High Report.
To keep up on the Chargers, head over to Bolts From The Blue.