DENVER (CBS4) – The Denver Broncos return home for the first time since beating the Cleveland Browns 24-19 in early November. At the time, Brandon Allen was getting his first start in a Broncos uniform, now there is a strong possibility Drew Lock will get his first start on Sunday. Here are the four things to watch in Sunday’s bout.
Drew Lock Under the NFL Lights
The biggest story line in this game has to do with Drew Lock — and if the rookie quarterback will get his first start. If so, Lock becomes the seventh different quarterback since Peyton Manning retired three years ago to start for the Broncos.
Lock is coming back from a thumb injury he sustained in the preseason. In the three preseason games he completed 31-of-51 passes for 254 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers Turnover Issues
Philip Rivers is having one of the worst seasons in his career. The 16-year veteran has given away the football 16 times, which are the third most in the NFL. He’s also thrown seven interceptions in the last two games.
Earlier this season in the Broncos 20-13 win over the Chargers, Rivers threw two interceptions.
Broncos Running Game Must Pick Up the Slack
Los Angeles has one of the top pass defenses in the NFL, giving up 205.3 yards a game (4th in NFL). The Chargers are also expected to receive a boost in the secondary with the possible return of Pro Bowl safeties Derwin James and Adrian Phillips.
This puts more pressure on the Broncos running game to get things going offensively. Denver rushes for 110.5 yards a game, which is 16th in the NFL.
Chargers Struggle to Win Close Games
The Los Angeles Chargers come into this game at 4-7. All seven of their losses are by seven points or less. The Chargers are 2-7 in games within one possession.