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NFL picks and predictions, Chargers vs. Broncos 2016: Experts expect Denver to get 1st-round bye

Manning will be Osweiler's backup on Sunday.

The Denver Broncos will finally have quarterback Peyton Manning back in uniform heading into Sunday's game against the AFC West rival San Diego Chargers, but he won't be under center unless his team is up big or somebody gets injured. That's because the Broncos are sticking with Brock Osweiler at the quarterback position.

Denver believes that Osweiler is the future at the position, or at least they have seen enough to know that he is better than Manning was at the start of the season.

Manning sustained a foot injury that led to Osweiler starting, but the veteran was playing poorly before going down with the injury. Manning completed just 59.9 percent of his passes for 2,180 yards with nine touchdowns and 17 interceptions before he went to the bench. Osweiler, with 70 fewer attempts, has completed 61.7 percent of his passes for 1,735 yards with nine touchdowns and just four interceptions.

Osweiler hasn't led the Broncos to an explosive, high-scoring offense, but he has protected the football much more than Manning, who had a disastrous year from that standpoint. The Broncos will win the AFC West if they beat the Chargers on Sunday, though they could also clinch with a loss by the Kansas City Chiefs.

A win for the Broncos over the Chargers, who are well out of the playoff race at this point, will also give them the No. 2 seed in the conference and a first-round bye in the postseason. If the New England Patriots manage to lose to the Miami Dolphins and Denver wins, the Broncos will grab the top seed and seal home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Experts aren't exactly split on Sunday's game, though there are a couple siding with the Chargers. Over at CBS Sports, seven of the eight analysts think the Broncos will win, with Jason La Canfora picking the Chargers. Here at SB Nation, it's a similar spread. Six of the seven panelists, plus the OddsShark Computer, think the Broncos take it. Only Matt Ufford is sticking with San Diego.

Week 17 Ryan Van Bibber Stephen White Joel Thorman David Fucillo Danny Kelly Matt Ufford PFT Commenter OddsShark