DENVER - The Denver Broncos quest for home field advantage through the playoffs will continue on a short week against the San Diego Chargers on Thursday Night Football.
With a win tonight and losses by the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cincinnati Bengals, the 11-2 Broncos could secure a first-round bye by Sunday’s end.
Standing in their way is a 6-7 Chargers team who’s looking to keep their playoff hopes alive. San Diego beat Peyton Manning’s younger brother Eli Manning four days ago, as they routed the New York Giants 37-14.
Here are the five matchups to watch for in the 108th game between these two divisional rivals. The last time the Broncos played the Chargers on Nov. 10, the Broncos won 28-20.
Philip Rivers vs Omar Bolden
Phillip Rivers is 5-2 when facing the Broncos on the road. He will try to get his sixth win against the Broncos' 28th ranked pass defense.
Keenan Allen vs Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
Keenan Allen is being called the Offensive Rookie of the Year so far by Sports Illustrated, and with good reason. Allen leads all rookie receivers with 61 catches and 902 receiving yards. In the first game, Dominique-Rodgers Cromartie held Allen to four catches for 41 yards.
Manti Te’o vs Knowshon Moreno
Knowshon Moreno is 80 yards shy of his first 1,000 yard rushing season. Moreno will try to become the first Broncos running back to hit the 1,000 yard mark since Willis McGahee in 2011.
Derek Cox vs Jacob Tamme
With Wes Welker out with a concussion injury, the Broncos will insert tight end Jacob Tamme into the lineup. Tamme caught 52 passes last season.
Danny Trevathan vs Danny Woodhead
Injuries and inconsistent play have led the Broncos brass to make defensive changes. One player who has been consistent all season long is linebacker Danny Trevathan. Trevathan leads the Broncos in tackles and is tied for the lead in interceptions. He will cover Chargers running back Danny Woodhead who is second on the team with 65 receptions.
Broncos Playoff Scenarios
1. Denver can clinch the AFC West division title with a win tonight and a Kansas City loss on Sunday.
2. Denver can clinch a first-round bye with a win tonight combined with a Kansas City loss and a Cincinnati loss or tie on Sunday.
The Broncos clinched a playoff spot last week.
Questionable: Eddie Royal (toe), Johnny Patrick (ankle)
OUT: Wes Welker (concussion), Derek Wolfe (illness)
Questionable: Champ Bailey (foot)
Stats to know
The Broncos hold a 7-0 home record this year averaging 42.2 points in those contests. In those wins, the Broncos have beaten their opponents by an average of 20.4 points. Denver's closest game at home was the Broncos 27-17 win over Kansas City.
Lots of scoring from both sides, but Manning keeps the ball rolling for the Broncos.