The Denver Broncos will be out for blood Sunday night when they host the San Diego Chargers in the AFC Divisional Round. The Broncos only loss at home came in Week 15 when they lost 20-27 to these same Chargers. The Broncos dominated the AFC to grab the No. 1 seed behind their high-powered offense, while the Chargers snuck in as the sixth seed. The Chargers may be one of the best stories in the playoffs, but they are facing a Manning on a mission against the Broncos. NFL oddsmakers have the Broncos as -9.5 point home favorites over the Chargers with the total set at 54 points. If the Chargers can maintain their recent pass-rushing success, Manning will have a tough day behind center.
The Chargers QB Phillip Rivers has been on fire for the during their current five-game winning streak. During that stretch, Rivers has compiled a stat line of 86-of-126 (68.3 completion percentage) with 10 touchdowns and two interceptions.
In the Chargers’ win over the Bengals, they recorded three sacks and six QB hits, which came after they recorded a pair of sacks and six QB hits against the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17. Defensive end Cory Liuget has been particularly impressive of late, with two sacks and four QB hits during those last two games.
Peyton Manning was sacked only 18 times during the regular season, by far the lowest among starting quarterbacks who played in all 16 games. His ability to stand in the pocket with relative ease and comfort undoubtedly played a big role in his incredible success, and the Chargers’ ability to generate a successful pass rush in Sunday’s matchup could go a long way toward determining who comes out on top.
The Broncos QB Peyton Manning has put together the best statistical season for a quarterback in the history of the NFL. The 16-year veteran threw for a record 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns during 2013 and appears to be on a mission toward winning one more Super Bowl.
This game comes down to which team executes its offensive game plan better. The Broncos will want to score early and force the Chargers to abandon the running game. The Chargers will try to keep the ball out of Peyton Manning’s hands by controlling the clock while being just a little more efficient on offense. The Broncos are too explosive on offense in this one against an average defense.
The Broncos relied heavily on their passing attack to score, which isn’t a secret to anyone given Manning’s 55 touchdown passes. But that should work to the Chargers’ advantage, as they can stack up against the pass in the red zone. Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno is a scoring threat as well, with 10 rushing touchdowns, but the Chargers’ top priority should be to prevent Manning from beating them through the air.
No team was better than Peyton Manning and company upon reaching the red zone. In 2013, the Broncos scored a touchdown on a remarkable 76.12 percent of their red-zone attempts, tops in the NFL.
Recent Trends to Consider and NFL Points Spreads:
Chargers are 6-1-4 ATS in their last 11 meetings in Denver.
Over is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings in Denver.
Chargers are 10-4-2 ATS in their last 16 meetings.
Underdog is 4-1 ATS in their last 5 meetings.
Road team is 6-0-1 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
Broncos are 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 vs. AFC West.
Broncos are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games after scoring more than 30 points in their previous game.
Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games overall.
Broncos are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. AFC.
Chargers are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games following a SU win of more than 14 points.
San Diego Chargers vs Denver Broncos
When: Sunday Jan 12@4:40 PM ET
Pick: Broncos -9.5
The Bottom Line: The Broncos will take care of business and move on to play one of two rivals in the AFC Championship Game. We recommend you signup with Bovada to receive a 10% signup bonus heading into Chargers vs Broncos game.