By Marc Mandell

@mandell_w on twitter

99% chance of winning the game and lost in the last 5 minutes. 72% chance of winning and lost again in the last 3 minutes. The last two games by the 1-4 San Diego Chargers have ended in epic fashion. Against the Saints, the Chargers committed two back to back fumbles and quarterback Phillip Rivers threw an interception to seal the loss in the closing moments of the game. One which they would have won. The Chargers had the Saints dead to rights! Same with the Raiders last week. Half way through the game the punter muffed a punt, that went all of a whopping 17 yards when San Diego was backed up to their own end zone and needed to give their defense a chance. That wasn’t even the best, I mean the worst part! At the end of the game to send it to OT that very same punter muffed the snap, fumbled and the ball was recovered by the Raiders. Ensuring another hilarious loss for the San Diego Duped Chargers.

That is the team that Denver gets to play on a prime time match up on Thursday night. Granted the game is in sunny San Diego, and with the return of Trevor Siemian, Virgil Green and Donald Stephenson, I feel that this will be the perfect opportunity for the Broncos to wash away that dirty diaper of a loss that was suffered against Atlanta. Because lets face it, Denver pooped themselves last week. Fortunately, its a quick turn around.

Now it should be noted that head coach Gary Kubiak will be taking this week off given his recent trip to the hospital via an ambulance. He was released yesterday from the hospital and is resting. I have no doubt I speak for all of us when I send our thoughts out to our fearless head coach. Get well coach, and we look forward to your speedy return back to the sideline.

With that said, lets get back to the juice of the matter. The Chargers have put up points with ease on offense with the likes of Melvin Gordon, Travis Benjamin and which ever tight end is healthy that week. Coupled with Phyllis, er Phillip Rivers, the offensive production has been very good this year. Averaging 373 yards per game and 30.2 points per game, its really hard to believe they are 1-4. Melvin Gordon has had a break out year, and given the Broncos running back…..breakdown last week, this to me is of the greatest offensive concern. He has 6 TD’s on the season already and is averaging 3.5 yards per carry or so. Dude can move and find paydirt. We all know about Antonio Gates right? Rivers is completing 68% of his throws and has gotten the ball to the end zone 11 times so far. And still, 1-4. Offensively its the turn overs that are killing the Chargers. And horrible plays at the worst possible time.

The defense of the Chargers is playing well. CB Jason Verrett went down for the year on a knee injury. He was arguably the best player on that side of the ball until… DE Joey Bosa. The 3rd overall selection for San Diego in this years draft. He is from Ohio State and he can bring it. He got his first start of his NFL career last week and, played 27 snaps. The result was 4 QB hurries, 1 hit and 2 sacks. His first showing was rather good. Playing next to Melvin Ingram, the problem is if the Denver Broncos’ Donald Stephenson doesn’t play this week, which I’m like 90% sure he does, It could be a very long day for Ty Sambrailo and Micheal Schofield. Just like last week. Also risking further injury to Trevor Siemian. Offensive line play will be paramount this week. No other position will have to have a better day than the offensive line play of the Broncos.

So the defense and the offense are clicking for the most part in San Diego, but what about our home team? The offense should get a much needed boost this week. With the return of our number 1 TE Virgil Green and our starting right tackle Donald Stephenson, the running game and passing game should be much improved. Besides, CJ needs to have a great day. Aside from week 1, he has not lived up to the 4.5 million dollar deal he got in the offseason. Not all of it is his fault, but if the offensive line gives you 2 yards, the RB needs to be able to get 4. So I will be looking for CJ to be hitting the hole with convincing speed and powerful down hill running. And with what looks to be the return of Trevor Siemian, the wide receivers should appear better as well. I think we will see 5-7 deep down field throws from 13 too. If CJ can get back to his form, Siemian can pop the top on the defense a few times, Denver should have an excellent chance of winning this game. Of coarse this is all dependent on the play of that O-Line. So here’s to hoping huh?

DE-CAF! pound pound DE-CAF! That’s what we saw from the defense last week right? All bark and no bite. I am of the opinion that it was just an off week. That no one bats 1000. Except the Cubs, which by the way I am totally on board with. Go get that World Series Cubbies!!!! Anyway, there is no way on this entire planet of earth that the Broncos defense clams up and shuts down two weeks in a row. Aside from Demarcus Ware being out for another week, this defense is ready to go back out and prove the pundits wrong again. Last week was just a strong dose of re-motivation. You know, putting the Nitro Methane back in the tank. And since we are on the D-Ware topic, this is a total blessing in disguise. The more time misses now, the more go go juice he will have when its time to make a January push. Keep an eye on it. You’ll see.

So what do you think will happen on Thursday night? get at me and let me know. Back in July I said that Denver would lose this game, and this does set up for another tough loss but….I just cant bet against the Broncos this week. I say 27-21 Denver. And as a side bet, ill bet it comes at the cost of a San Diego fumble in the closing minuets to seal the victory for Denver. Sending Rivers home with what could be the nail in the coffin for their season, and Denver back to the Mile high City with another big time W and a week and half before their next meeting on Monday Night Football with…….the Houston Texans.

Thanks as always for reading and I look forward to getting back at you all during and after the game!!