Considering how last season ended for Denver — losing at home in the divisional round to eventual champion Baltimore; a game the
San Diego is a scary opponent, though. The
Of course, the star of this game is Manning, who is coming off one of the greatest quarterback seasons in NFL history. He set league records for yards passing (5,477), touchdowns (55), and first downs through the air (289). What's more, he spread the football the way a Las Vegas dealer distributes cards — a league-record five Denver players scored at least 10 touchdowns.
The big question with Manning is, can he get it done in the postseason? Yes, he has a Super Bowl ring from his years in Indianapolis, but his 9-11 record in the playoffs is underwhelming.
He might be playing in Manning's shadow this season, but San Diego's
A major factor in San Diego's success over the past five weeks is running back
Mathews didn't practice in the week leading up to this game, although he held out hope he could face the Broncos for a third time this season.
"The more rest you get, the better everything gets," he said.
Rivers is keeping his fingers crossed.
"I'm not making predictions because I don't know where it stands, honestly, right now," the quarterback said. "But he's going to do all he can to play, to give himself the best chance to play four quarters. You just never know how things are going to play out."
By the numbers
How teams compare statistically. All stats are per-game averages, except for sacks and turnover differential, which is for the season (league rank in parentheses):
Category | SD |DEN
Points scored: 24.8 (12) | 37.9 (1)
Points allowed: 21.8 (11) | 24.9 (22)
Pass offense: 270.5 (4) | 340.2 (1)
Rush offense: 122.8 (13) | 117.1 (15)
Pass defense: 258.7 (29) | 254.4 (27)
Rush defense: 107.8 (12) | 101.6 (7)
Sacks: 35 (23) | 41 (13)
Penalty yards: 47.8 (9) | 62.5 (27)
Turnovers: -4 (20) | 0 (16)