San Diego to Take Charge of AFC West

Week 6 of the NFL season concludes with an AFC West divisional showdown as the Denver Broncos (2-3) head to Qualcomm Stadium to take on the San Diego Chargers (2-3).

Broncos QB Peyton Manning heads into his second Monday night appearance ranked second in the NFL with a passer rating of 101.00 and is averaging 300 yards passing per game, which is third in the league. One of the keys will be putting up some points early.

The Broncos have fallen behind by double digits in three games so far this season. Receiver Demaryius Thomas is fifth in the league, averaging 101 yards receiving per game, but fumbles in the past three games have hurt the team. One thing to watch is if Denver can get the running game going against the Charger defense.

The Broncos are averaging 101.2 yards rushing per game behind RB Willis McGahee, who is 13th in the league with a 75.2 yards per game average but are coming up against a Chargers defense that is third in the league allowing only 74 yards per game on the ground. Look for Denver to establish the run early and then test the San Diego corners down the field. Defensively, the Broncos have been tearing up opponent QBs behind LB Von Miller, who has five sacks so far and DE Elvis Dumervil who has three. Chargers QB Phillip Rivers has been sacked 14 times so far and the Broncos will look to keep the pressure on him.

The Chargers come into this game first in the AFC West and will be looking to extend their lead over the Broncos. Rivers is ninth in the league with a rating of 93.1 and is averaging 250 yards per game, but he is completing 67.9% of his passes. The Chargers have a well-rounded pass attack able to effectively strike anywhere on the field with speedy WR Malcolm Floyd stretching the field, Robert Meachem in the slot and TE Antonio Gates as another outlet.

One key will be RB Ryan Matthews, who is an explosive back but is coming off being benched for fumbling the ball. If Matthews can exploit the 21st-ranked Bronco rush defense, which is giving up 120.2 yards on the ground per game, it will afford more opportunities for Rivers to open up the air attack and help relieve some of the pass rush.

Another key to the game is how the Chargers protect Rivers from an aggressive Bronco pass rush. OT Jared Gaither, who has been an important part of protecting Rivers, is doubtful and has not practiced at all this week. If the Chargers are forced to rely on rookie Mike Harris again it could be a rough night for Rivers.

FOX Business has evaluated the win/loss and stock market statistics over the past 20 seasons of Monday night NFL games and come up with a Monday Night Markets (MNM) score for each team based on their record and the prior week’s market activity. Let’s take a look at what the markets have to say.

The Dow Industrials ended last week down 2.07% and the S&P 500 was down as well, closing out the week with a 2.21% loss with both indexes being down three of the last four weeks. The markets were pressured by concerns of slower economic growth in Europe and Asia. Those concerns were heightened after the IMF cut its global growth forecast and by weak earnings outlooks. Optimism stemming from better-than-expected US jobless claims data was not enough to overcome the downward pressure.

Over the past 20 years, the Broncos have played 39 Monday night games and based on our calculations have a Monday night rank of .412 when the Dow closes the prior week down and .389 when the S&P 500 is down, giving them a MNM rank for this week of .401.

During the same 20-year period, the Chargers have played 19 Monday night games and have a rank of .500 when the Dow is down and .400 when the S&P 500 is down, giving them an MNM rank this week of .450.

Monday Night Markets picks the San Diego Chargers at home over the Denver Broncos.

Week 6 FBN Staff Picks:

Broncos @ Chargers

Robert Gray (4-2)

Turn on the bright lights!  Just as Interpol’s indie classic still sounds great a decade later, fans can enjoy a vintage Indy-era Peyton Manning performance under the lights on Monday Night Football.  He’s in a different uniform, but Manning will still light it up and lead his Broncos to a win over division rival San Diego.

Sandra Smith (3-3)


Connell McShane (3-3)

Going with Broncos.