After watching film of both teams, Scouts Inc. breaks down key elements of the Week 6 Broncos-Chargers matchup. • Broncos still a work in progress: This Peyton Manning-led offense gets better each week as it improves chemistry, and the same thing goes for Denver's defense. There is not a deep element to Denver's passing game and all of Manning's routes are short to intermediate with a lot of bubble screens designed to get yards after catch. When the run game is going well, it sets up a nice play-action package. Defensively, the Broncos show a lot of pre-snap movement to confuse QBs and they are changing up their coverages on the back end. Chargers QB Philip Rivers will have to be very solid in his pre-snap reads. The Chargers will try to confuse Manning with some pre-snap movement and changing coverage looks of their own. • This is not the Chargers' passing game we are used to seeing: In the past this has been a vertical passing attack with a lot of seam routes and big shots, but defenses are taking the deep ball away and Rivers is taking what the defense gives him. He is dumping off the ball to his backs, as Ryan Mathews and Ronnie Brown combined for 11 receptions and 106 yards versus New Orleans in Week 5. Before last Sunday, the Chargers were not getting a lot out of their edge passing game, but with Malcom Floyd playing well and Robert Meachem finally coming around, defenses have to honor those outside routes, and that opens up the middle, where TE Antonio Gates loves to work. • Third down is a key: San Diego's offense is in the top third of the NFL in third-down conversions while Denver's defense is in the bottom third at getting off the field on third down, which was a huge problem in Week 5 at New England. The more San Diego can convert on third down to keep drives alive, the fewer possessions Manning will have. Rivers should continue to show patience and not force the deep ball on early downs, and if his run game is working, it will set up nice play-action opportunities, especially on third down. Denver's defense needs to be really good on first and second down to force Rivers into predictable third-and-long situations. • Home QB: Rivers has terrific skills, and after a 2011 season in which he forced the ball, made bad decisions and tried to do too much, he is much more settled in 2012. He has excellent touch and accuracy and is terrific at recognizing defenses and reading his progressions. Denver defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio will use a lot of pre-snap movement to try to confuse Rivers and force some mistakes, but Rivers really works hard to prepare for a defense. This will be an interesting chess match between Del Rio and Rivers. • Away QB: Manning is really starting to get into a groove with his receivers, and this timing pass offense is clicking. We don't see a lot of vertical throws and velocity on his passes, but he is very effective on short routes such as bubble screens, curls, outs, etc. He will work out of the shotgun at times with some no-huddle looks and will continue to make pre-snap adjustments to exploit the Chargers' defense. His receivers must be on the same page in sight adjustments. He will involve his backs and TEs in the passing game and is taking fewer chances than he was earlier in the season. • Key positional battle -- San Diego OTs Jared Gaither and Jeromey Clary vs. Denver edge pass-rushers Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil: These offensive tackles have great size, but they do not match the athleticism of this Broncos edge pass-rush duo. Gaither and Clary are both wall-off guys with long wing spans and and good hands, but Dumervil and Miller will try to rush wide and get the slower OTs in space where they can also be beaten by double moves. Gaither hurt his groin versus New Orleans and was really struggling at the end of the game, so that is something to watch. • Featured player: Mathews has had a roller-coaster 2012 season, partly because of injuries and partly because of a pattern of fumbles, but when he is in sync this offense has a totally different look. Although he has shared time with Jackie Battle and Brown, Mathews has much more explosiveness and big-play ability than the other two guys, both in the running and passing games. Denver has struggled to get off the field on third down and its gap discipline has been up and down. San Diego would love to control the flow of the game with a clock-eating run game to keep Manning and the Broncos' offense on the sideline. • Film room nuggets: Miller earns his paycheck as a pass-rusher, but the coaches would like him to be a little more involved in coverage. So far he has been inconsistent in that area. … San Diego's defense is really thin at corner, which is not good news when you are getting ready to play Manning and his spread offense. … When you study Denver CB Champ Bailey on film you really start to appreciate his skill set. He has the physicality to cover a tight end, he can line up wide and take on the best wideout without help, he can play inside over the slot, and he can play man or zone. His instincts and ball skills are off the charts, and he can be effective as a blitzer. Prediction San Diego 27 Denver 24 Although Denver is getting better each week, the Chargers will steal this game with offensive balance and just enough of a run game to keep Peyton Manning off the field.