John Gennaro: There has been talk lately that the Broncos' defense won't hold up in the playoffs, and that Peyton has been getting too beat up to be effective in the post season. How is the Broncos coaching staff preparing for the playoffs?
MrEast: The coaching staff seems to be getting into a pseudo-rest mentality for some players. Against the Titans, Wesley Woodyard took a fraction of the snaps usually takes during a normal game. Some believe this reduction is due to his less than stellar performance over the past couple games, but it makes more sense that they're resting him.
This defense has definitely been a little more than spotty this season, and it's definitely more than just injuries. The problem really seems to be chemistry. For some reason the players just can get out of sync on some plays and that usually leads to very large gains. Some of the Super Bowl champions of the past have gotten hot at the end of the season due to a healthy and clicking defense. Can the Broncos fix it? I don't know. It's hard to fix something this far into the season, but if just improve slightly it could payoff big in January.
MrEast: Against the Colts, there was an absolute loss of focus on the defense. Andrew Luck just absolutely punked the Denver defense. The defense racked up penalty after penalty in addition to the large gains they gave up.
On defense, the Broncos definitely weren't prepared for the aggression that Patriots showed in the second half. It was a bit like an NBA game. A team that builds up a big lead too early can become complacent and watch it slip away.
The common denominator however for both of these games are the turnovers. That Bronco offense has the tendency to put the ball in the opponents hands. In the fourth quarter against the Colts, the Broncos turned the ball over twice (one on the goal line and one deep in their own territory). You're just not going to win if can't secure the ball.
JG: Which Broncos players should the Chargers fans be worried about?
MrEast: Well, outside of Manning, Charger fans should watch out for Eric Decker. After being criticized in the middle of the season for not being physical enough, Decker has been on fire the past couple of games. With Welker being out of the game Decker will have a chance to shine again. Since it's a contract year for Decker he definitely has a lot to show.
JG: If you were the Chargers defensive coordinator, how would you gameplan to try and stop the Denver offense?
MrEast: If the Chargers can get Manning on the ground and force a couple of turnovers, it will be a long night for the Broncos. The Broncos may be the best offense in the NFL, but when Manning gets sacked then can really get out sync. Robert Mathis was a terror in the Colts game. Not only was he up in Manning's grill the entire game, he notched a strip sack that resulted in a safety. If the Chargers can get a player going like that, they have a real shot of taking this one.
JG: Does Thursday night's game have any importance to the Broncos? Will it affect them in any way if they lose?
MrEast: A bit of vanity is always at stake when playing an AFC West opponent. Especially an opponent lead by a former coach. The Broncos are still at the top of the AFC, but one loss could allow New England to usurp the number one seed. If Denver stumbles two games, they could risk being a Wildcard if the Chiefs win out.
JG: Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to answer our questions.