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The Stage is Set

Posted Oct 11, 2012

Denver's next game comes on Monday Night Football against a rival with a chance to earn a tie atop the division entering the bye week.

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Entering Week 6 of the season, it's not exactly make-or-break time for the Broncos.

But the importance of this Monday's divisional showdown in San Diego is not lost on the team.

"They’re all must-wins," linebacker Keith Brooking said. "It’s against a division opponent and they’re leading our division right now. We can put ourselves in a position where we’re tied with them with a lot of football to be played. I’m not a big-picture guy. I know that we’re 2-3, I do know that. And I know that I don’t like this taste in my mouth. I want the taste of victory, I want that feeling. I want our mojo back. We just need to get our third win of the season, bottom line. That’s the only way you can look at it.”

The Broncos, at 2-3, are a game behind the 3-2 Chargers in the AFC West. The club has a chance to force a tie atop the division as it enters its Week 7 bye.

"This is a big game for us to put ourselves back in the race and go into the bye week with a positive outlook," wide receiver Eric Decker said.

Wide receiver Brandon Stokley said the team approaches every week like it's a big game, but all the ingredients are there to provide even more motivation for this week's matchup.

First, it's against the rival Chargers.

“We really don’t like them and they really don’t like us," Stokley said. "That’s kind of understood.”

Defensive end Elvis Dumervil said he's "still bitter" about Chargers victories early in his career, and the team will have to be on its "A game" to exact some revenge.

In addition, the game comes before Denver's bye week, and Decker said that extra week is a long time to sit at home thinking about a loss.

To top it all off, the matchup airs on Monday Night Football under the lights of national television. The Broncos-Chargers tilt will be the only show in town.

“I think everybody’s always excited to play in that environment, but I don’t think we need that to get motivated and to get as prepared as we possibly can for this game," quarterback Peyton Manning said. "It is a division game, we are coming off a loss, it’s a road game, you’ve got a bye week after that, so we’d like to be able to change a little of the momentum and try to put together a road win, which we haven’t gotten yet. We’d love to find a way to get a couple consecutive wins in a row if we can. I think there are plenty of reasons to be motivated and ready for this game, like the fact that it’s a division rival and you’re playing for a potential shot at first place in the division, which is certainly one of our goals.”

In order to come away with a victory in what Head Coach John Fox called a "huge, pivotal game for both teams," the Broncos know the amount of work required of them during this week of practice.

Decker said that's not a problem for a team that features plenty of veteran leaders.

"You see guys that are hungry because there are winners in this locker room, and they’re used to being on top," he said. "The fact is that everybody is willing to put in the work and willing to go out and take care of their business."

Fresh off a loss in New England, the Broncos are anxious to get back in the win column.

“You couldn’t ask for any better opportunity to come out and redeem ourselves," Dumervil said. "So I think the guys are responding that way."