Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is running a $1.25M fantasy football league on Sunday. First place wins $100,000. Join now!
Brock Osweiler / Rookie QBs
For all intents and purposes, with this being his first time getting starts, Brock Osweiler is a rookie QB for the Denver Broncos. That means, at some point this season, he's likely to have at least one "bad" or "very bad" game where he either costs the team a victory or nearly does so.
In 2.5 games as the Broncos starter (coming in relief of Manning against the Chiefs), Osweiler has played two good games and one great one. The team is 2-1 in those games. It's reasonable to think that, against a divisional opponent with nothing to lose or play for, the San Diego Chargers may be able to throw defensive looks that the kid hasn't seen on film and confuse him. It's reasonable to think that he may play poorly enough to cost the Broncos a game, and that might be this game.
The Broncos season has been odd, to say the least.
Their defense has been so good that they were still winning just about every game they were in, despite having maybe the worst starting QB in the league early on (based solely on Peyton Manning's performance this year). Many around the league thought the team was good, but would need improved play at QB to compete in the playoffs.
Then, when they made the switch to Osweiler, it somehow made people doubt them even more. Surely, they wouldn't be able to beat the good teams with this guy throwing the ball around. Hell, he couldn't even beat the Chiefs in his first game as starter!
Many people said "Just wait and see what New England does to him." Against the Patriots, Osweiler threw for 270 yards and led his team to victory. He proved that he could win big games. The team proved that they could beat other Super Bowl contenders, even without Manning in the game. It was a big weight off their shoulders.
After playing the defending champs, the Broncos had to turn around and travel to San Diego and face a team that everyone expects them to handle easily, despite the fact that it's a divisional opponent who knows them very well.
This has all the makings of a trap game for the Broncos.
Nothing to Lose
We didn't see a totally new Mike McCoy against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he definitely did some things that he wouldn't have done if this team was still in the playoff race. Namely, McCoy went for it on 4th down last in the game and the Chargers benefitted from that. You could argue it was the difference in the matchup.
Playing against his former team, this is Mike McCoy's Super Bowl. Win this one, and people will still consider you to be a good head coach (if not with the Chargers, then somewhere else around the league). Get blown out, and that's a harder case to make.
If McCoy is smart, he'll coach like he has nothing to lose, and all of those extra opportunities he buys for his team pays off in an upset victory that gets him top-billing on the highlight shows Sunday night.