|AFC Divisional Playoffs|
|Last 3 Games||3-0||+2.9||2-1||1-2||26.7||10.3||355.7||(5.6)||1.3||15.7||13.7||345.3||(5.3)||2.0|
|Offense (All Games)||24.9||11.8||22.9||33:21||31-127||(4.1)||23-33||69.7%||262||(7.9)||64-389||(6.1)||(15.6)|
|Opponents Defensive Avg.||24.4||12.1||20.4||30:26||28-114||(4.1)||22-36||61.3%||243||(6.7)||64-357||(5.6)||(14.6)|
|Offense Road Games||25.1||10.6||24.1||32:38||30-124||(4.1)||24-33||71.8%||283||(8.5)||63-407||(6.4)||(16.2)|
|Defense (All Games)||21.1||10.8||20.8||27:42||24-107||(4.5)||23-35||65.6%||263||(7.5)||59-371||(6.3)||(17.6)|
|Opponents Offensive Avg.||24.6||12.5||20.3||30:06||27-114||(4.2)||22-36||61.2%||245||(6.7)||63-359||(5.7)||(14.6)|
|Defense Road Games||22.3||10.1||22.2||28:02||23-111||(4.8)||24-37||64.8%||288||(7.8)||60-399||(6.7)||(17.8)|
|Stats For (All Games)||0.6||0.6||1.2||0.0||13-6||48.2%||0-0||83.3%||2-43||(22.1)||1-10||(7.5)||6-47|
|Opponents Avg. Stats Against||1||0.7||1.6||2.1||14-5||38.0%||1-0||45.0%||2-59||(23.7)||23-2||(10)||6-49|
|Stats For (Road Games)||0.7||0.6||1.2||-0.1||12-5||45.3%||0-0||66.7%||2-55||(23.6)||1-12||(8.8)||6-52|
|Stats Against (All Games)||0.8||0.5||1.2|| ||11-4||38.0%||1-0||43.7%||5-115||(24.7)||1-10||(7.5)||6-52|
|Opponents Avg. Stats For||1.1||0.6||1.7|| ||14-5||37.8%||1-0||49.7%||3-68||(24.2)||21-2||(8.7)||6-53|
|Stats Against (Road Games)||0.8||0.3||1.1|| ||12-4||38.1%||1-0||44.4%||5-118||(24.7)||1-6||(4.7)||7-61|
|Last 3 Games||2-1||-2.4||2-1||0-3||30.3||19.0||421.3||(6.6)||0.3||18.0||7.7||277.3||(4.5)||1.0|
|Offense (All Games)||37.9||18.0||27.2||30:31||29-117||(4.1)||29-42||68.3%||340||(8.1)||71-457||(6.4)||(12.1)|
|Opponents Defensive Avg.||24.4||12||20.6||30:15||28-116||(4.2)||22-36||62.0%||248||(7)||63-365||(5.8)||(15)|
|Offense Home Games||39.5||16.2||28.4||30:46||29-108||(3.7)||30-43||69.3%||347||(8.1)||72-455||(6.3)||(11.5)|
|Defense (All Games)||24.9||12.0||21.2||30:18||26-102||(3.9)||22-38||58.2%||254||(6.6)||65-356||(5.5)||(14.3)|
|Opponents Offensive Avg.||23.1||11.6||20||30:15||27-116||(4.3)||22-35||60.9%||233||(6.6)||63-350||(5.6)||(15.1)|
|Defense Home Games||22.5||13.0||20.4||29:14||27-109||(4)||21-37||56.1%||234||(6.4)||64-343||(5.4)||(15.3)|
|Stats For (All Games)||0.6||1.0||1.6||0.0||13-6||46.3%||1-0||88.9%||2-61||(25)||3-21||(7.8)||7-62|
|Opponents Avg. Stats Against||0.9||0.7||1.6||2.1||13-5||38.6%||1-0||47.2%||3-63||(23.3)||22-2||(9.7)||6-52|
|Stats For (Home Games)||0.6||1.0||1.6||-0.1||12-5||44.2%||1-1||100.0%||2-51||(31.2)||2-19||(7.6)||6-50|
|Stats Against (All Games)||1.1||0.6||1.6|| ||14-5||38.1%||1-0||26.7%||2-58||(29.2)||2-17||(9.8)||6-50|
|Opponents Avg. Stats For||1.1||0.6||1.6|| ||14-5||37.9%||1-0||47.3%||3-67||(24.1)||20-2||(9.4)||6-51|
|Stats Against (Home Games)||1.1||0.4||1.5|| ||14-5||39.3%||1-0||22.2%||1-38||(33.7)||2-14||(8.9)||6-52|
|Average power rating of opponents played: SAN DIEGO 18.4, DENVER 18.1|
|11/24/2013||@ KANSAS CITY||41-38||W||3||W||43||O||27-104||27-39-387||0||18-114||26-38-281||2|
|1/12/2014||@ DENVER|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|11/24/2013||@ NEW ENGLAND||31-34||L||-1||L||53.5||O||48-280||19-36-132||4||31-116||34-50-324||3|
|12/1/2013||@ KANSAS CITY||35-28||W||-5||W||50.5||O||31-132||22-35-403||2||25-159||26-42-293||1|
|1/12/2014||SAN DIEGO|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|SAN DIEGO: New head coach Mike McCoy oversaw more of a one-cut running scheme in Denver, but he'll probably adapt to the power personnel he has. He rotated a stable of backs with the Broncos, and it looks like a similar situation in San Diego. The perennially disappointing Ryan Mathews will take the bulk of the early down reps, but he'll be spelled early and often. Danny Woodhead will take most passing downs and get some take-what-they-give-you runs when teams send out extra defensive backs. Ronnie Brown's only real value is as a pass protector, and Le'Ron McClain will be primarily a lead blocker again.
McCoy and new offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt both have a background based more in the vertical passing game, so the Chargers air attack shouldn't change much. Philip Rivers is at his best getting the ball deep up the seam, and Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd should continue to see a lot of work there. McCoy plans on being more creative with Antonio Gates, who will continue to line up in a number of spots as a flex tight end. They will likely use either Eddie Royal or rookie Keenan Allen in the slot, though Rivers doesn't use slot receivers much. McCoy and Whisenhunt historically like to keep the ball on the ground in the red zone, and Mathews should get goal-line carries.
The Chargers had seven defensive touchdowns last year, but in effort to generate more pressure (two sacks or less in 11 games in 2012), DE Dwight Freeney (107.5 career sacks) was signed. Bigger sack numbers are also expected from third-year pro DE Corey Liuget (7 sacks). But having the NFL's second-easiest schedule, plus adding shutdown CB Derek Cox and rookie LB Manti Te'o to incumbent standouts FS Eric Weddle and ILB Donald Butler makes defensive coordinator John Pagano's 3-4 scheme one to respect.|
|DENVER: This is basically Peyton Manning's offense, which means they take what opponents give them when it comes to the running game. Offensive line coach Dave Magazu has brought zone blocking back to Denver, even if it's not to the extent that it was during the Mike Shanahan heyday. Rookie Montee Ball should lead the committee, as he's their best runner and an effective pass protector; there's no such thing as a 'running down' with Manning. It will essentially be a hot hand situation between Knowshon Moreno and Ronnie Hillman for the rest of the snaps.
Manning is essentially doing the same thing he did in Indianapolis. It's a lot of pre-snap adjustments and, because of his deteriorating arm strength, more quick hitters. Demaryius Thomas and Eric Decker will work on the outside as receiver 1 and 1A. They'll go to a three-receiver base with Wes Welker coming in, and the former Patriot will likely take over as Manning's No. 1 target. Joel Dreessen is more of a blocking tight end, though he does see a few safety-valve targets. Jacob Tamme's playing time figures to drop with Welker's arrival. The Broncos remained a balanced team in the red zone, mostly because opponents often kept extra defensive backs on the field against Manning.
The Broncos tied the NFL lead with 52 sacks in their first year under DC Jack Del Rio in 2012, but departed with DE Elvis Dumervil (11 sacks) due to an agent fax machine error. However, OLB Von Miller (18.5 sacks) remains along with versatile OLB Wesley Woodyard (117 tackles). The addition of playmaking CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (16 INT, 4 TD in career) helps make up for losing CB Tracy Porter, and future Hall-of-Famer CB Champ Bailey is still playing at a high level. Having the NFL's easiest schedule also helps a lot.|
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER PRO FOOTBALL PREVIEW (SAN DIEGO-DENVER) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
*Chargers-Broncos Preview* ==========================
By NOEY KUPCHAN STATS Writer
While the San Diego Chargers enter Sunday's AFC divisional playoff game in Denver as nearly double-digit underdogs, they aren't lacking for confidence after getting the best of Peyton Manning's Broncos at Mile High last month.
Coach John Fox's team is out to make sure that doesn't happen again.
Denver had outscored opponents by an average of 20.4 points in winning its first seven home games before falling 27-20 to San Diego on Dec. 12. Ryan Mathews ran for 127 yards and a touchdown while the Chargers (10-7) held the Broncos (13-3) to their lowest point total of the season.
"It's tough to say you're confident knowing what you're going against. You don't want to take that the wrong way," Chargers Pro Bowl safety Eric Weddle said. "Do we believe we can win (again)? Yes. Do we know what a tough challenge it is and how great we have to play? Yeah. It's not just because it's happened in the past it's going to happen. You still have to play at a high level and do the things necessary as a team to win."
"... We have been the underdog all year. We are out to continue to believe in ourselves."
Having averaged 37.9 points during the regular season - the highest of any team in the Super Bowl era - the Broncos were held to fewer than 30 in just three games, two of which came against the Chargers. Denver won 28-20 at San Diego in Week 10 behind 330 yards and four touchdowns from Manning.
"It taught us a lesson," tight end Jacob Tamme said of last month's loss. "We did kind of reboot after that and yes, I think we know that we need to play our best ball going forward and that's what we're planning on doing."
While beating the Chargers remains priority No. 1, the Broncos are also eager to prove themselves following last season's divisional round collapse against eventual Super Bowl champion Baltimore. Denver gave up a game-tying 70-yard touchdown with 31 seconds left in regulation before falling 38-35 in double-overtime last Jan. 12 - exactly a year to the day of Sunday's clash.
"You don't harp on the first time you fell off your bike, but you remember falling off and you know you don't want to do it again," tight end Julius Thomas said. "So, it's not that we're dwelling on the Ravens or even if it's about the Ravens. It could have been any team that we lost to. But we do have a fresh reminder of if you don't come out and play your `A' game in this tournament, you're going to lose."
Coming off a bye, Denver secured the AFC's top seed with a 34-14 win at Oakland in Week 17. The Chargers, meanwhile, won their last four regular-season games to sneak into the playoffs, and they stayed hot with a 27-10 wild-card win at Cincinnati last Sunday.
San Diego ran for a season-high 196 yards while Philip Rivers completed 12 of 16 passes for a season-low 128 yards with a touchdown and no turnovers.
"Going on the road in a playoff game is not going to be easy, regardless of who you're playing," Chargers coach and former Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy said. "We're just worrying about ourselves right now, it's about us, and we're going to keep taking it one week at a time and just keep going, keep plugging away."
The Chargers have run for an average of 170.2 yards during the current five-game win streak and are 10-2 when rushing for more than 102, compared to 0-5 when they don't. It's unclear how much Mathews will be able to contribute, though, after leaving last weekend's game with a lingering ankle injury.
With or without Mathews, San Diego is likely to again turn to its ground game early and often in hopes of keeping Manning off the field. Manning, who set NFL single-season passing records with 5,477 yards and 55 touchdowns, will have his full complement of receivers with Wes Welker set to return.
Welker has been out since suffering a concussion Dec. 8 against Tennessee, his second in a four-game span. Despite his absence, Welker finished second in the league with 18 receptions in the red zone, one behind Chargers running back Danny Woodhead.
"A lot of times teams will decide to go ahead and double Wes," said teammate Demaryius Thomas, who hauled in 14 TD receptions to rank second in the NFL. "So absolutely, it opens up things for me. If I have single-man coverage, it's something that I definitely enjoy and look forward to.
"Wes brings a lot to this offense and we're excited to have him back."
Manning has lost his last three postseason games and is 4-6 in his past 10 overall against the Chargers, including playoff losses during the 2007 and 2008 seasons while with Indianapolis. Rivers has posted a 99.1 quarterback rating in going 6-2 all-time in Denver.
"I've always appreciated and look forward to, as a fan of his growing up, to go against a Peyton Manning-led team," Rivers said. "The teams that we've both been on have had awesome games, and games have come down to the wire, overtime playoff games and our two games this year were really tight.
"They're a No. 1 seed for a reason. This is a heck of a team and it's rare to play an opponent three times in a season and being a division opponent, one we know well, they know us well. It's going to be awesome."
|Last Updated: 10/21/2014 6:40:50 PM EST|