Note: If you're looking for the Week 8 2014 Thursday night matchup between these two teams, please go here: SD Chargers vs. Denver Broncos Preview.
San Diego Chargers (10-7 SU, 10-6-1 ATS) vs. Denver Broncos (13-3 SU, 10-5-1 ATS)
Date and Time: Sunday, January 12, 4:40pm
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High - Denver, CO
by Bob, Football Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SD +10/DEN -10
Over/Under Total: 54.5
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I told you guys that the San Diego Chargers were on a mission and would cover against the Bengals. However, never did I imagine they would do it in such impressive fashion. Now don't get me wrong, Andy Dalton spotted them a few too, but the Chargers got the job done. Now they sit one win away from the AFC Title game but things will not be easy. Peyton Manning on the Denver Broncos will be waiting at home well rested after earning the AFCs top seed and home field advantage. This will be third meeting among these division rivals, and they split the season series 1-1. Denver went into San Diego in early November and won the game 28-20, but then just a few weeks later, the Chargers went into Mile High in the prime time night game and not only covered the 13.5 they were underdogs by, but they pretty much dismantled the Broncos in all phases of the game, winning 27-20. The stakes are much higher now though. You win, you advance one inch closer to the Super Bowl...You lose, and you start preparing for the NFL Draft. This game many feel is just a formality for Denver seeing as how they are favored by 10 points and the total is set at 54.5. It appears that Vegas wants you to assume the Broncos win this game about 38-20. Will they be rusty from the bye week, or will they be energized and ready to accomplish their goal that was put in place the day they signed Mr. Manning?
San Diego has got hot. They got into the post season by the skin of their teeth, but so far have made the most of the opportunity presented. San Diego has always been a thorn in the side of Peyton Manning, and that goes back even to his Indianapolis days. Something about the Chargers just makes Manning not look his best. San Diego will come in with the 4th best passing team in all of the NFL, and they also rank in the top 15 in rushing gaining over 120 a game. The weakness for this team though is the one weakness you do not want once Peyton Manning gets rolling...a bad pass defense. San Diego is ranked in the bottom third of the NFL in passing defense allowing teams to throw for nearly 260 yards per game. If this remains the same, Manning may make very light work of them. The key is simple if the Chargers plan on winning or at least covering the 10 points: Pressure Peyton. If some of the heat can be taken off the San Diego DBs, and force Manning to make some ill advised throws, this could be an interesting matchup. If not, well, the Chargers don't wanna see what could become of that.
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The Denver Broncos in my opinion are the only team in the league that needs to win NOW. Peyton is not getting any younger, and if they are going to hoist that silver football at the end of the season, they need to take advantage of what they have. Home field advantage, a weaker Patriots team than normal, and a good playoff draw should play into the favor of the Broncos. Denver comes into this AFC battle boasting the NFL's top passing attack, along with a top ten run defense. Them, along with the Seattle Seahawks in my opinion are the two most well balanced teams in all of the league. The key to this game for Denver is to just play Denver Broncos football. Hard nosed defense, up tempo fast attacking offense, and do not make mistakes and this game could be over heading into the 4th quarter.
Bob's Pick to Cover the Point Spread: After seeing the last meeting between these two teams, I am shocked the line is at 10 points. I would assume 6.5 or 7, but many are writing the last game off as Denver just going through the motions knowing that they had already wrapped up home field, or at least was close to it. I am not so sure that was the case but whatever. Anyhow, like I said, the line sits at 10 points in favor of Denver and the early bettors appear to think that San Diego is the play here. After how they beat down the Bengals this past week, and how they looked against Denver a few weeks ago, I can see why they would lean that way. This is tough for me because I can honestly see this game going either way. If Denver wins this game 45-13 I wouldn't be shocked, and if San Diego wins the game 17-13, again, I wouldn't be shocked at all. Both teams have very similar records against the spread, but obviously on paper, Denver is the better team. I have this strange feeling that Manning's playoff woes continue. Lets not forget that Tim Tebow has more playoff wins in Denver than Peyton Manning does. Not saying Manning isn't one of the greatest, because he is, but be honest...in the post season, Manning is just another "good" QB. I am going against all I think I know and I am going to ride with the early leaners and take San Diego in this game to cover. PICK: SAN DIEGO +10.
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