San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers will make his 166th consecutive regular season start Thursday night against the Denver
Broncos. Rivers, in Denver anyway, has been the quarterback fans love to hate.
STRAIGHT FROM THE BARTENDER’S SHOT GLASS: Yeah, I’m worried about Broncos coach Gary Kubiak. Twice in less than 30 games as a head coach he’s exited a stadium in an ambulance. When I interviewed Kubiak for StrokeSmart magazine earlier this year, he told me, “I don’t
think there’s anything wrong with hard work. But if there’s no time for you, health-wise, sleep-wise or family-wise … if there’s never a release, then you’re probably heading in the wrong direction.” … I have it at 13 defending Super Bowl champions starting a season at 4-0. That list includes the 2016 Broncos. Five of the 13, including the ’16 Broncos, lost their fifth game of the season. Only three of the previous 12 teams repeated as Super Bowl champs after a 4-0 start — ’79 Steelers, ’98 Broncos and ’04 Patriots … Holy Black Hole, Batman. The Raiders haven’t started a season at 5-1 since 2001. Kicker Sebastian Janikowski was on that team too … If I counted right, Broncos linebacker Von Miller is on pace for a career-high 20 1/2 sacks. Miller has 66 1/2 for his career — 16 1/2 of them coming in games played in prime time … Colin Kaepernick is working to restructure his contract to play for the San Francisco 49ers, who would celebrate a 7-9 finish this season. He could’ve restructured his deal in June and been the quarterback of the Broncos right now … Speaking of celebrating, call me a fuddy-duddy (who still uses that term?) but I thought champagne celebrations in baseball clubhouses were reserved for winning World Series championships. Now there’s bottle service after winning a best-of-five divisional series … The Golden State Warriors are the favorites to win the NBA’s regular-season champion title. Kinda like last season. Get back to me when the NBA Finals are over. Kinda like last season … Tiger Woods bowed out of the Safeway Open because his game is over par. I’m cool with that. But I found it interesting that the golfer ranked No. 786 in the world was a 40-1 pick to win his first PGA Tour appearance in a year. On paper, the Broncos-Chargers game appears to be a mismatch — defending Super Bowl champions with 15 straight road wins against AFC West opponents against a Chargers franchise that has lost 19 of its past 25 games under head coach Mike McCoy. When the schedule was released on paper during the spring, though, I picked San Diego to win this one. And I’m one who sticks with a pick. Chargers upset Broncos … My other Funky NFL Picks this week are: Buffalo, Washington, Tennessee,Baltimore, Carolina, Los Angeles, New England, Pittsburgh, Green Bay, Oakland, Seattle, Arizona, Indianapolis and in my “Game of the Weak” Jacksonville beats Chicago … Giants QB Eli Manning needs one touchdown pass to tie Broncos Hall of Famer John Elway for seventh on the all-time list with 300 career touchdown passes.