As the top seeded Denver Broncos battle their way through the AFC Championships, beating the San Diego Chargers today could land them facing the New England Patriots next week in Denver, on Sunday, January 19th.
The problem is the Chargers aren't going to be that easily defeated. In the recent season meetings they share an even split (one win one loss each) with the Dec 12th game breaking Denver's perfect record at Mile High Stadium.
But if Denver loses today, it could mean the end of Hall of Fame QB Peyton Manning's football career.
Manning injured his neck in a game against the Washington Redskins on Oct. 22, 2006. Dungy recalled that " Manning's neck was wrenched and his helmet ripped off when he took a hit by Andre Carter followed by a hit from Phillip Daniels".
That injury kept him out of the entire 2011 season and was a big part of the Indianapolis Colts, who he gave his entire career, letting him go. He signed with Denver in 2012 and has set league records for single season touchdowns and passing yards.
In March, Manning will undergo a required physical exam to check the status of his neck injury in an effort to determine the extent of the nerve damage he suffered, and if it is healing. Manning had trouble with is throwing arm after the injury due to nerve problems.
If his March physical shows a chance that the neck could be injured again, Manning has said that he will strongly consider leaving the Denver Broncos and retiring from the NFL.
The 37-year-old Manning raised speculation about his future this past week when he said, "The light is at the end of the tunnel for me, no question."
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