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Denver Broncos-San Diego Chargers five things to look for Thursday

12:05 PM, Dec 12, 2013   |    comments
Nov 10, 2013; San Diego, CA, USA; San Diego Chargers head coach Mike McCoy (left) talks with Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) after a Broncos win at Qualcomm Stadium. The Broncos won 28-20. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
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Five things to keep an eye on when the Broncos (11-2) try to improve to 11-0 against the AFC West under Manning when they host the Chargers (6-7):

BREAKING RECORDS: Peyton Manning (45 touchdown passes) is on pace to break several NFL records, including Tom Brady's mark of 50 TD passes and Drew Brees' record of 5,476 yards passing. And the Broncos are on pace to score a record 634 points.

"Yeah, the one we're concerned with is our win-loss record," Manning said. "It tells you how competitive our division is that you're still having to take care of business each week."

The Broncos lead the Chiefs (10-3) by a game.

WELKER OUT: Wes Welker will miss this game after his second concussion in four weeks, but Jacob Tamme, Manning's former teammate in Indianapolis, is an able substitute in the slot.

Tamme was the odd-man out with the emergence of Julius Thomas, who broke Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe's single-season franchise record for tight ends with his 11th TD catch last week. But Tamme has 10 catches for 97 yards and a touchdown over the last three weeks.

"Obviously, Julius has played well this year and Tamme hasn't had as much playing time, but he's had a great attitude," Manning said. "And when his number has been called he's come in there and been outstanding."

CHARGERS RECHARGED: The Chargers are as healthy as they've been all season, and last week they welcomed back outside linebacker Melvin Ingram, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in May.

"Last week was a big step for him," coach Mike McCoy said. "He got 13 plays in the game. Now, he thinks he can play 100 plays. But that's just his attitude."

FOX VS. McCOY: Broncos coach John Fox missed the first game between these teams because he was in a hospital in North Carolina recovering from heart surgery.
So, this game will be the first time McCoy will face his mentor.

"It's great to see him back out there. I wouldn't be here today without John Fox," said McCoy, who worked for Fox for seven seasons in Carolina and Denver.

PLAYING WITH FIRE: The Broncos have fallen behind by double digits in each of the last two weeks before storming back to beat Kansas City 35-28 and Tennessee 51-28.

"Once we realize that there will come a week where our offense isn't going to put up 50 and we have to make a stand, then things will be better," defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said. "Until then, it will be a dogfight."

(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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