Broncos, Chargers meet for second time in three weeks

DENVER -- The Denver Broncos pulled out of a two-game tailspin just in time to face a team that helped touch off the problems.

For the second time in three weeks, the Broncos (5-2) will be facing AFC West rival San Diego (3-4), which has strung together consecutive wins over Atlanta and the Broncos since its 1-4 start.

"When you win, it boosts so much confidence around the team," Chargers nose tackle Brandon Mebane said. "Coming in on Mondays, Wednesday and Tuesdays, the vibe and the atmosphere are so much better. Just winning period is a good feeling. We are starting to believe."

San Diego handed Denver a 21-13 loss a week after Atlanta dealt Denver its first loss of the season.

"They have some interesting stats," said Broncos coach Gary Kubiak, who was sidelined by illness for the earlier meeting between the teams. "I think they've held the lead more than anybody in this league right now. They've just lost some games late, but played really well.

"They obviously got after us and went to Atlanta and beat a really good football team on the road. They're playing well. (San Diego quarterback) Philip 1/8Rivers 3/8 is playing well. Defensively, they're very active. (Defensive end Joey) Bosa is playing a big part right now so we'll have to play a lot better than we did a couple of weeks ago, I know that."

Showcasing a resurgent running game and efficient play from quarterback Trevor Siemian, the Broncos got back on track last week with a 27-9 win over Houston.

And the rematch with San Diego comes in Denver this time. For their part, the Chargers have not won on the road against a division foe since beating the Raiders in Oakland 31-28 on Oct. 12, 2014. The Chargers have not swept a season series against the Broncos since 2010.

Be that as it may, with Rivers as productive as ever and Bosa blossoming as a rookie pass rusher the Chargers are in a pretty good place heading into Sunday's contest.

"I think our attitude has been good," Bosa said. "Nobody really ever got down even after those few losses in a row. We just tried to keep our head up in the locker room, feed off of each other and keep a positive attitude moving forward. After getting that win on Thursday night (against the Broncos), I think it really boosted the positivity and the belief in the locker room and now we're just feeding off that, especially with another win on Sunday."

San Diego coach Mike McCoy said the Chargers know better than to automatically assume a repeat of their first encounter with Denver.

"That one's behind us now," he said. "You can't worry about that one and the last couple of weeks. You got to go on to the next one and play better this week."

Denver's defense re-asserted itself in the win over Houston, limiting the Texans to three field goals and the unit is anxious to show its mettle the second time around against the Chargers.

"That's definitely the case," Broncos safety Darien Stewart said. "I'm happy to be playing them again this early. We're looking forward to it. We still had a bad taste in our mouths even last week and last game. We're ready for them."

Both teams have their share of injuries that they are dealing with heading into the game.

Denver running back C.J. Anderson, who had his first 100-yard rushing game last week, suffered a bone bruise on his right knee against the Texans and could miss several weeks. Rookie Devontae Booker, whose 4.8 yard average per carry leads the Broncos, would start in Anderson's place and fellow running back Kapri Bibbs could see more playing time.

Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall also has missed practice time this week with a hamstring injury.

Meantime, Denver pass rushing linebacker DeMarcus Ware is nearing a return from a fractured forearm, though it is still uncertain whether he will play against the Chargers. Ware, who suffered the injury Sept. 18 against Indianapolis, returned to practice this week.

San Diego placed defensive tackle Caraun Reid on injured reserve after he suffered a knee injury during the overtime win at Atlanta.

Cornerback Brandon Flowers returned to practice this week after missing the past month because of a concussion.