Broncos fear no team, yet get a bit queasy when Chargers are opponent



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The Denver Broncos fear no one in the AFC, nor should they given their recent record.

There is one opponent that gets Peyton Manning and company a bit unsettled, though, and that's who they take on Thursday night when the San Diego Chargers come visiting.

San Diego has won four of its past five regular-season trips to Denver and has kept Manning's offense under 21 points in three straight meetings.

"The Chargers just flat outplayed us," Manning said. "It's a reminder that there aren't many secrets: If you go out and don't execute and make mistakes and have self-inflicted wounds, it's going to be tough to beat any team, much less a good football team like the Chargers."

Denver did beat the Chargers in the postseason last winter. Again, it was a tight game.

But the Chargers come off a mediocre performance. They had won five in a row before they struggled defensively last Sunday in a loss to Kansas City, which rushed for 154 yards, the most allowed by the Chargers this season.

"Our last game was not our best performance," defensive coordinator John Pagano said. "We've got to go out and communicate and play the call."

Denver (No. 1 in AP Pro32) is a 7½-point favorite over No. 7 San Diego in the key AFC West matchup. The Broncos are just too much in synch for the Chargers right now.

BRONCOS, 30-20

No. 27 Washington (plus 9) at No. 2 Dallas, Monday night

It's not that we're jumping on Cowboys' bandwagon, but ...

BEST BET: COWBOYS, 34-17

No. 9 Baltimore (plus 1 1-2) at No. 14 Cincinnati

Love how Ravens are playing. Hate how Bengals are playing.

UPSET SPECIAL: RAVENS, 23-16

No. 3 Philadelphia (plus 2 1-2) at No. 5 Arizona

Winner here must be considered a title contender. Great coaching matchup.

EAGLES, 23-21

No. 10 Detroit (minus 4) vs. No. 25 (tie) Atlanta at London

Last thing Falcons need this season is to give up a home game.

LIONS, 23-10

No. 19 Chicago (plus 6) at No. 8 New England

Bears need to get away from Soldier Field. But Foxborough isn't best place to get things right.

PATRIOTS, 24-20

No. 24 St. Louis (plus 6 1-2) at No. 13 Kansas City

Winner gets Governor's Cup. Send it west.

CHIEFS, 23-16

No. 12 Seattle (minus 4 1-2) at No. 18 Carolina

Still not ready to abandon our faith in defending champions. Getting closer, though.

SEAHAWKS, 27-20

No. 6 Green Bay (plus 1 1-2) at No. 21 New Orleans

Packers are rolling and are unafraid of road trips.

PACKERS, 33-30

No. 4 Indianapolis (minus 3) at No. 17 Pittsburgh

Colts are best team east of Denver right now.

COLTS, 26-19

No. 16 Buffalo (plus 3) at No. 29 New York Jets

No star quarterback for opposing team this week, so ...

JETS, 17-16

No. 32 Oakland (plus 7) at No. 20 Cleveland

Browns gagged big time in Jacksonville. Could they really fall to another tailender?

BROWNS, 30-20

No. 15 Miami (minus 5 1-2) at No. 30 Jacksonville

Jaguars stunned Browns last week, but won't do same to Dolphins.

DOLPHINS, 21-20

No. 22 Houston (minus 1) at No. 28 Tennessee

A pair of teams that make too many critical mistakes. Texans make fewer here.

TEXANS, 22-20

No. 25 (tie) Minnesota (plus 3) at No. 31 Tampa Bay

Bucs defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was fired as Vikings head coach last year. Revenge? Nope.

VIKINGS, 19-17


2014 RECORD: Against spread: This week (6-9); Season (53-48-3). Straight up: This week (9-6); Season (69-35-1)

Best Bet: 5-2 against spread, 6-1 straight up.

Upset special: 6-1 against spread, 4-3 straight up.


AP NFL website: http://www.pro32.ap.org and http://www.twitter.com/AP_NFL

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