Game Plan and Matchups vs. Chargers

The Denver Broncos have to figure out how to stop Chargers running back LaDainian Tomlinson in their game this week. They blitzed quarterback Philip Rivers the last game, and Rivers had that figured out by the second half. The real problem, however, was Tomlinson, who scored four touchdowns

SERIES HISTORY: 94th meeting. The Denver Broncos lead the series against the San Diego Chargers 52-40-1. San Diego won the first game this season in dramatic fashion. The Broncos led 24-7 in the third quarter and lost 35-27. San Diego's LaDainian Tomlinson had four touchdowns.

GAME PLAN: The Broncos have to find a way to put quarterback Jay Cutler in positions where he can make plays and the offense isn't one-dimensional. Last week the game plan was a bit too complicated for a rookie making his first NFL start. The offense's best play, a 71-yard touchdown catch by rookie receiver Brandon Marshall, was on a simple pass play. Running the ball effectively against San Diego's tough 3-4 defense will help as well.

Defensively, the Broncos have to figure out how to stop LaDainian Tomlinson. They blitzed Philip Rivers the last game, and Rivers had that figured out by the second half. The real problem, however, was Tomlinson, who scored four touchdowns.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Broncos LBs vs. San Diego RB LaDainian Tomlinson. The Broncos need to swarm Tomlinson and not let him get loose. That's a lot easier said than done, but without it the Broncos are in trouble. Tomlinson had four touchdowns the first time the teams met.

--Broncos LT Erik Pears vs. Chargers OLB Shawne Merriman. The Broncos are probably going to help whoever is on the same side as Merriman. Expect Merriman to see plenty of snaps across from Pears, an inexperienced player who is in the lineup because Matt Lepsis is out for the season.

INJURY IMPACT: K Jason Elam won't do much this week, but the Broncos are confident he'll be able to play on Sunday. Elam has a hamstring injury. He will rest it during the week and try to kick on Sunday, something he has done before in his career.

--LB Al Wilson returned to practice Wednesday, despite suffering a sprained neck on Sunday. The Broncos won't commit to his status for Sunday's game before seeing how he fares during the week.

--OT Adam Meadows didn't participate in the team portion of practice Wednesday. He missed last week's game because of a hamstring injury but is closer to returning to the lineup.



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