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Broncos Seek Win in Frigid Temps, Chargers to Bust Home Field Rut

For the AFC West, Week 14 has its share of storylines and one starts with its first-place team, the Denver Broncos (10-2). They’ll host the Tennessee Titans (5-7) on Sunday and while a lock for the playoffs, the Broncos will seeks consistent wins to gain home-field advantage for them.

Broncos coach John Fox has returned to the team and is reportedly feeling well. This will give the team a nice emotional boost but really it will be business as usual with coordinator Adam Gase calling offensive plays while interim coach Jack Del Rio will put his defensive coordinator’s hat back on to call plays for that group.

And for Fox, look for him to coach from the sidelines.

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning

Which brings up another storyline for this game: the weather. The forecast for game time is 13 degrees with a chance of snow and 7 mph winds.

Can Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning play in the cold weather? You know if the Broncos do lose, there will be a resounding No! but Manning has insisted that it’s not a problem.

After playing 14 years in a dome with the Indianapolis Colts, he sits with career record of 3-7 (including playoff games) when kickoff temperature sit at 32 degrees or colder. In his other games, he’s 170-76, according to the Associated Press.

Keep in mind Manning’s recent cold weather games don’t favor him as he lost in double-overtime at home against the Baltimore Ravens in January’s playoffs and just two weeks ago, the Broncos lost in overtime to the New England Patriots (9-3) in Foxborough, Mass.

Earlier in the week, Manning responded to the media inquiries that no, he didn’t feel during the cold weather that he was a “different player” and when asked to elaborate, he responded, “That’s not how I feel, so … did I miss the question?”

And because things happen in threes, along with battling the cold weather, how will Manning do against the Titans’ cornerback duo of Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty? Verner is in the top 10 for Pro Bowl voting but McCourty hasn’t cracked the list. They could pose a challenge by trying to shut down the Broncos’ talented offense and its quarterback.

But the Broncos have endured challenges before and seem like the obvious favorite for this game. Vegas agrees (-12, 50 o/u).

Chargers Seek Rare Home Win Against Giants

For the San Diego Chargers (5-7), they’ll host the New York Giants (5-7) on Sunday and will look for their first home win since Oct. 14 against the Indianapolis Colts (8-4).

Besides tipping their home record to 3-3 with a Sunday victory, the Chargers will also have a chance to keep their playoff hopes alive. And at least some players have said they’re publicly ready for the challenge.

Chargers safety Eric Weddle said this week via ESPN, “We’re excited for this challenge — 5-7 versus 5-7. The loser is probably out, so we both know this is going to be a hard fought test on both sides, and the winner will keep their season alive.”

The team got some good news on Saturday that outside linebacker Melvin Ingram had been activated off its reserve physically unable to perform (PUP) list. He will be a welcomed addition to its depleted linebacker corp.

Keenan Allen

Keenan Allen

On the offensive side, things are going well for the Chargers wide receiver Keenan Allen, who is the league’s rookie leader for receptions (58) and receiving yards (483). He is in the conversation for the Offensive Rookie of the Year but he could be challenged this week by the Giants’ defense.

As for the Giant’s offense, quarterback Eli Manning is 0-2 against the Chargers and he may not receive a lot of love in Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday from the fans. But on a positive note, Manning does play well against the Chargers: he has a 107.2  passer rating, four touchdowns and zero picks.

Both teams are desperate for the win but the home team will persevere (-4, 47.5 o/u).



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