Sunday’s match against the Denver Broncos doesn’t lack for drama as there are a multitude of compelling storylines at play.
It’s a division game between bitter rivals.
It’s the first time the two teams face off following the Broncos’ stunning 24-point second-half comeback on Monday Night Football.
And it’s a battle that will go a long way toward determining who will win the AFC West.
The Chargers spent Wednesday emphasizing that every game in the National Football League is a must-win, but admitted that this week’s is more important than your average game. A win would put them back in the thick of the playoff race while a loss would make it an uphill climb.
“I look at every game like we have to win it,” said Takeo Spikes. “I don’t like sitting back at the end of the day hoping and praying, fingers crossed that I hope this team loses. To sum up this game, if you want to have the opportunity to control your own destiny we have to go out and win this game.”
A 15-year veteran, Spikes said he’d never experienced a loss quite like the 35-24 defeat back in Week 6. Still, to him, the upcoming rematch is about more than revenge.
“For us, we look at it as something bigger than payback,” he said. “You look at payback, you’re looking at a one-time hit. This is a drawn out soap opera that leads on into the playoffs, having a shot. It is bigger than that. It is the big picture that we do see. At the end of the day it only starts with one. It is this week.”
Head coach Norv Turner echoed the same sentiments, explaining how if the Chargers want to have a shot at capturing the AFC West crown, they will need to come home from Denver with a victory in tow.
“Every week is a must-win, but now you’re talking about your division,” he said. “You’re talking about a team that obviously has a lead on us (and) that beat us here. Certainly it is a critical game for us to play well and win. I think you have to look at the positives in the (last) game and the things we did well to get to a lead. Then we have to look at the things that kept us from winning. Our issue is that it is more about us finding a way to play complete game.”
Over his career,
“I certainly think that we (can go on a run) and we all believe it,” he said. “We’re going to keep fighting. We’ve been in worse positions than 4-5 and two games back with a chance to cut it to one. Win or lose last week, this was going to be a big game. It could have put us in a little better position had we won, but we didn’t. This is a game that we need to win regardless because if not, Denver sweeps us. We’re going to play until that horn blows January first or whenever that last one is and we’ll see where we stand after that.”A win on Sunday can jumpstart the Chargers back into the thick of the ever-changing AFC playoff race.