Flowing Rivers to expose Denver

  • By: David John
  • Last Updated: December 12 2013, 8:48 GMT

David John previews San Diego at Denver and fancies the visitors to exploit a ropey home defense.

Philip Rivers can lead San Diego to a decent points total
Philip Rivers can lead San Diego to a decent points total

San Diego at Denver (0125 GMT Friday)

Super Bowl favourites Denver will not be riding their defense to glory in February but who cares when you have Peyton Manning running the other side of the ball.

They trailed 21-10 at home last week to a moderate Tennessee outfit but that just seemed to send Manning into overdrive as he led his side back to a 51-28 success. Four more touchdown passes took his tally to 45 from 13 games and well on course to beat Tom Brady's record for a single season of 50 back in 2007.

More importantly, they have punched their ticket nice and early to the play-offs but still have business to sort out like wrapping up the division and trying to secure top seeding in the AFC.

Manning and his pals have put up over 1,000 yards of offense in the past two games and the worry will come when an opposing defense rises to the challenge and slows them down.

They look set to be without savvy veteran slot receiver Wes Welker after a second concussion in 22 days but that might be the only real issue as, on paper, the Chargers have not produced the statistics on their own defense to suggest they can keep Manning et al under any sort of wraps.

They rank 28th overall in that category and 28th against the pass which indicates another profitable evening for the hosts on the scoring front.

Having said that, the Chargers are unlikely to just roll over. They sit at 6-7 and still in the hunt for an AFC wild card berth but there is every likelihood they are going to have to win all three remaining games - starting on another chilly night in Colorado.

They arrive on the back of a convincing 37-14 home success over the erratic New York Giants with quarterback Philip Rivers and super-impressive rookie wide receiver Keenan Allen teaming up for two of their four touchdowns on the day.

San Diego rank fourth in total offense and fourth in passing yards in the NFL and with plenty still to play for, I do think they will have some success as the Broncos make an attempt to iron out those defensive issues down the stretch before the post-season.

Throw in some improved play as well lately from Chargers running back Ryan Mathews and there do seem to be some legitimate options emerging as to how they will find the end zone.

The lowest line in terms of total points for the visitors has been set at 21.5 and although it would take a brave man to suggest that will be anywhere near enough to get them to 7-7, it does not appear insurmountable from a team still fighting for its life.

Verdict: San Diego 28 Denver 45

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