As previously reported, Peyton Manning was taking it easy during the Denver Broncos bye week, skipping a practice for the second week in a row. A healthy Peyton Manning is a dangerous Peyton Manning and, rather than playing hooky, he was likely binging on game film in order to better dissect the next defense to get in his way. The Chargers will be Peyton Manning’s next prey this Sunday at 1:25 local time at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego.
In the Chargers, Peyton Manning faces the 6th-worst passing defense in the NFL. The Chargers’ secondary yields an average of 275 yards per game, a number that is likely to grow when Manning—throwing for 365 yards each outing—and the Broncos comes to town. A big running game from Knowshon Moreno will allow Manning to spread the ball around to favorite targets Demaryius Thomas, Eric Decker and Wes Welker, the latter two of whom joined Manning on the sidelines at practice last week.
With Manning on the mend from his two ankle sprains and Welker and Decker probable, Denver’s main medical concerns on offense are the questionable ankle of guard Chris Kuper and the convalescence of head coach John Fox. Fox was sidelined with a heart operation he couldn’t put off until after the season, as he’d previously hoped; defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio will step in as interim head coach. While Broncos players wish their skipper a speedy recovery, Peyton Manning and company won’t be approaching the game any differently in his absence.
“Nothing changes,” wide receiver Bubba Caldwell said via CBS News. “It’s just a different co-pilot. It’s just a different guy saying the same words.”
Chargers defenders will try to do what every team attempts against Peyton Manning: get pressure on him and sack him often. San Diego has tallied 20 sacks so far this season, 21st in the league. They’ve only snagged 4 interceptions and have forced only 6 fumbles, both of which rank near the bottom.
Can the Chargers hope to contain Peyton Manning’s aerial attack? Do you think Manning is 100 percent for the game? Should Peyton Manning be a lock for the MVP award?