DENVER BRONCOS (2-3)
at SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (3-2)
Kickoff: Monday, 8:40 p.m. EDT
Line: San Diego -1, Total: 49Ĺ
San Diego looks to retain its series dominance over a Denver team that has lost four straight road games.
The Chargers are 9-3 SU (8-3-1 ATS) in the past 12 meetings with the Broncos. But Denver has won two of three at San Diego, including last November when the Tim Tebow-led Broncos tripped up the Bolts, 16-13. The Chargers once again have question marks, especially in pass protection. LT Jared Gaither is dealing with back and groin injuries and could barely move by the end of last game, which is a big a problem as they get set to face pass-rushing stud LBs Von Miller and Elvis Dumervil. The Chargers have given Peyton Manning fits during the Norv Turner years. With the Colts, Manning lost four of five to Turnerís Chargers, SU and ATS, while posting 10 TD and 13 INT.
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Manning has been outstanding in his past three games, throwing for 330+ yards and multiple touchdowns in each contest without throwing a single interception. Four different Broncos receivers have scored at least two touchdowns, including Demaryius Thomas who has caught 14 passes for 283 yards in the past two games. He practiced on a limited basis Thursday due to a hip injury, but should be available to start on Monday. WR Eric Decker has scored in each of the past two games, but his receiving yards have plummeted in the past two weeks, going from 136 to 79 to 21 last Sunday. Denver's passing game should be just fine, but there are questions surrounding RB Willis McGahee who had a key dropped pass and lost fumble in last week's loss. He also gained a mere 51 yards on 14 carries (3.6 YPC). Turnovers have killed the Broncos on the road this year, as they have a minus-6 turnover rate with seven giveaways and just one takeaway in the two contests. Denver's pass defense has been strong (215 YPG, 11th in NFL), but the rushing defense has surrendered 120 YPG (21st in league), including a whopping 251 yards to New England last week.
Chargers QB Philip Rivers has played very well in this series since 2006, passing for 246 yards per game, 20 TD and just 6 INT in these 12 contests. He's also coming off a strong outing in New Orleans, completing 27-of-42 passes for 354 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT. RB Ryan Mathews has been bothered by an ankle injury, but he looked great against the Saints last week with 80 rushing yards on 6.7 YPC plus six catches for 59 more yards. He'll be expected to carry a huge workload, considering he has rushed for at least 120 yards in each of the past three meetings with Denver, totaling 413 yards from scrimmage (138 YPG) and 3 TD. In terms of the defensive run-stop unit, San Diego has not allowed 120 rushing yards once this season, including holding New Orleans to 53 yards on 21 carries last week. The passing defense has been a bit suspect though, allowing 850 passing yards (283 YPG) in the past three games.