Denver Broncos Game Plan and Matchups 12/20

The Denver Broncos will have no chance if they can't stop the run, no matter who is carrying the ball for the Chargers.

SERIES HISTORY: 96th meeting. Broncos lead the series 52-42-1, but San Diego beat Denver soundly in the first meeting this year. On Oct. 7, the Chargers won 41-3, the worst home loss for the Broncos since 1966. San Diego has won three in a row against Denver.

GAME PLAN: The Broncos will have no chance if they can't stop the run, no matter who is carrying the ball for the Chargers. Denver has had two poor performances on run defense in the last three weeks. The Broncos gave up a 147-yard performance to RB Michael Turner in the first meeting with the Chargers. Denver should be able to handle San Diego's passing game, especially with Chargers TE Antonio Gates at less than 100 percent.

On offense, Denver will continue to rely on QB Jay Cutler. The Broncos would like to get him more help than he had last week, when the running game was non-existent against Houston, but ultimately most of the offensive load will fall on Cutler.

MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Broncos WR Brandon Marshall vs. Chargers CB Antonio Cromartie -- Cromartie has turned into a Pro Bowl cornerback since the Broncos' first meeting with San Diego this season. Marshall has also become a force, getting in the Pro Bowl conversation after 21 catches the last two weeks. Both players are physical and fast, which should make for an interesting matchup.

Broncos C Chris Myers vs. Chargers NT Jamal Williams -- Myers was starting at guard for the first meeting, with Tom Nalen at center. Nalen suffered a season-ending biceps injury in that game, and Myers moved over. Myers isn't exceptionally big, so he will have his hands full with the mammoth Williams. Denver's running game can get bogged down if there is penetration from the middle of the defensive line.

INJURY IMPACT: LB Ian Gold missed practice Wednesday because of a knee injury. He could miss the Broncos' final two games.

TE Daniel Graham has an ankle injury and missed practice Wednesday. He has a high ankle sprain, an injury that usually takes a week or two to heal.

WR Brandon Stokley, who was inactive last week, returned to practice on a limited basis Wednesday. He has a knee injury but should be available to play this week.



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