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Published on 10/16/2009 at Fri Oct 16 19:00.
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For those who want a more in-depth look at the numbers that drive the NFL, we strongly recommend Football Outsiders. Trends are starting to take shape, so we’ll be looking at DVOA rankings to gain some perspective on the Broncos‘ upcoming opponent.

San Diego Chargers

San Diego Chargers

Passing Offense: 31.1% (11th)
Rushing Offense: -17.1% (25th)
Overall: 5.2% (16th)
Analysis: The Chargers certainly have the ability to be explosive at times, but the numbers suggest they’re not consistent (in fact, the Broncos outrank them significantly in all offensive DVOA categories). Each of their games in 2009 have been a microcosm of their past few seasons: a slow start, finding themselves in a deep hole, followed by a . It also explains why the Chargers have rushed for fewer yards than other team in the league. As part of their bye week break, expect the Chargers to come out throwing Monday. An early lead would go a long way to heal what ails them.

Passing Defense: 24.8% (22nd)
Rushing Defense: 22.1% (32nd)
Overall: 23.3% (29th)
Analysis: Do any of those numbers scare you? The Chargers currently have the least efficient defense in the AFC West by DVOA — less than the Chiefs, less than the Raiders, and far worse than the fourth-ranked Broncos. The injury to Jamal Williams has been devastating, and former Pro Bowlers Antonio Cromartie and Shawne Merriman have been invisible.

That being said, the Chargers hope to enter this game healthy, and hope to remove the “soft”-ness their GM has plagued them since before the bye. Merriman has been practicing all week, a good sign after he’s been limited often in 2009, and San Diego hopes he can return to his playmaking form. They’re shaking things up, releasing starting safety Clinton Hart and adding DT Ian Johnson.

Those moves need to pay them immediate dividends, as the Broncos’ running attack will be boosted by the return of Correll Buckhalter. This could prove problematic for the Chargers defense, as he has been one of the NFL’s best rushers in 2009 (averaging over seven yards per carry). If the Chargers can limit Buckhalter, it will mark a remarkable turnaround in a short time span and go a long way toward them winning this game.

Special Teams: 5.0% (6th)
Analysis: The Broncos’ special teams has been a major disappointment, while the Chargers’ unit has been one of the team’s bright spots. Darren Sproles is always dangerous.

Team Overall: -13.1% (23rd)
Analysis: The Broncos outrank the Chargers in every category except Special Teams, but the Chargers have had the Broncos’ number the past several seasons, winning 5 of 6 by an average of 25.0 points. This is the Broncos’ annual toughest game of the year. The stats are worth the look, but for this game, you can throw a lot of them out the window. The Chargers are going to “bring it,” and the Broncos need to match.

  • Big_Pete

    I wonder why when everyone talks about Merriman, they always say “for the last 2 years he hasn't looked the same”. They bring up injuries and such, but I want someone to grow a sack and say what everyone already knows…. “Shawn Merriman isn't the same since he got busted for taking steroids!” You know they are dying to be allowed to say that. He hasn't done ANYTHING since he got put in the drug program and was forced to stop roiding up!

  • Big_Pete's A Moron

    I'd have to say that is stupidest thing I've ever heard. He got busted for “steroids” PRIOR to the 2006 season you moron. …and it was a supplement helps you recover, not enhances your performance you idiot.

    The guy had been tested 20 times for illegal substances and tested clean 19 times. The dude hasn't done anything since having surgery, because in 2006 and 2007, he completely dominated the competition. Hell, in 2007 he turned every defense (including the Colts) into the Chuck and Duck attack.

  • Big_Pete

    are you retarded? After he got busted for steroids, he went to shit, complete and utter shit. Whether you want to count 2009 as a full year or not 5 games in is your prerogative. I choose not to, that's why I say 2 years.
    Here's a hint, they DO NOT release what exact steroid he took. They can speculate, but they won't say “he took deca durabolin” or anything like that. We all know that Deca helps you heal, but guess what? It also is a powerful steroid that get's you very good muscle gains.
    Don't try to test me on my steroid knowledge, I will bury you and most doctors on the subject.

  • kerry

    Merriman still is a roid freak who cant hack it anymore, Jamal Williams is injured and you Chargers fans still have your famous label of next years champions. but you wanna know what the most awesome part about all of this is?? the Chargers STILL have never won a SB. i mean come on THE CHIEFS have more SB wins then the Chargers!! THE CHIEFS for fuck sake!! dont be too sad when Phyllis Rivers is practically raped by Elvis Dumervil on Monday.

  • Roy88

    Big Pete– I have been thinking the same thing for quite a while, glad to see that someone else thinks it too. He could have been taking Deca, but you and I both know that he was probably not taking only one. Especially with the money he makes. I would not be surprised to learn that he was on any combination of Deca, Winstrol, hgh, Dbol, or one of the other hundred plus anabolic compounds. The simple truth is that he is not nearly as aggressive, and fast/strong as he was before.

  • Kyle

    No insulting other commenters allowed. Really peeved this system won't let me delete that comment fully. It's the NAME of the commenter that IS the problem.

    Still, thanks for keeping it relatively clean everybody. This site wasn't about building a community but one has sprung up and we love it.