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National Football League
San Diego at Denver
When: 4:40 PM ET, Sunday, January 12, 2014
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos get a chance to avenge their only home loss when they host the sixth-seeded San Diego Chargers in the AFC divisional round on Sunday. Manning guided Denver to the top seed behind a record-setting offense that surpassed 600 points for the first time in league history. The Broncos were held under 30 points only three times and two of them came against the Chargers, who lost a 28-20 decision in San Diego before pulling out a 27-20 win in Denver on Dec. 12.

Manning set league single-season records for touchdowns (55) and yards (5,477) but he is trying to end a streak of three straight postseason defeats, including a 38-35 loss in double overtime last season when the Broncos were also the No. 1 seed. Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers is 6-2 in his career in Denver and is relishing the matchup with Manning. "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. "It's going to be awesome."

TV: 4:40 p.m., CBS. LINE: Broncos -10. O/U: 54.

ABOUT THE CHARGERS (10-7): San Diego ran its winning streak to five games with a 27-10 win at No. 3 seed Cincinnati last weekend, but enter Sunday's matchup with major concerns about running back Ryan Mathews' availability. Mathews averaged 118.3 yards in the final four games of the regular season, including 127 in the victory over the Broncos that helped the Chargers control the ball for more than 38 minutes, but he aggravated an ankle injury in the third quarter last week and did not return. Rivers put up pedestrian numbers against the Bengals (12-of-16, 128 yards, 1 TD), but he completed a league-high 69.5 percent of his passes during the regular season. San Diego's defense ranked 29th in passing yards allowed (258.7 yards) but limited opponents to an average of 16.3 points over the last six games.

ABOUT THE BRONCOS (13-3): Wide receiver Wes Welker returns to the lineup after missing the past two games with a concussion, giving Manning his full array of weapons - Denver is the only team in history to have five players score at least 10 touchdowns. Manning threw for 330 yards and four TDs - three to Demaryius Thomas - in the first matchup with the Chargers, but he was held shut down after scoring on the opening possession of the second half. Eric Decker established career highs in yards (1,288) and receptions (87) while tight end Julius Thomas hauled in 12 scoring passes, including a 74-yarder at San Diego. Knowshon Moreno yielded more playing time to rookie running back Montee Ball down the stretch, but the onus will be on a defense that allowed 24.9 points and 254.4 passing yards per game.


1. Manning is 9-11 in the postseason and has lost his first game on eight occasions.

2. San Diego led the league with 39 10-play drives during the regular season and had two more for TDs in last week's win at Cincinnati.

3. Manning (5,679) needs 177 yards to surpass Joe Montana and Brett Favre for the second-highest total in postseason history behind Tom Brady (5,949).

PREDICTION: Broncos 34, Chargers 20
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf OT Div Conf
San Diego 10-7 W5 24.9 21.1 5-3 5-4 9-7 1-0 1-1 4-2 7-6
Denver 13-3 W2 37.9 24.9 7-1 6-2 11-1 2-2 0-1 5-1 9-3
Last Meeting
San Diego Denver
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
12/12/13 SD 27 DEN 20 337 177 160 295 18 277
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
San Diego P. Rivers 60.0 166 2 0
Denver P. Manning 65.9 289 2 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
San Diego R. Mathews 29 127 4.4 1
Denver K. Moreno 8 19 2.4 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
San Diego V. Brown 3 54 18.0 0
Denver A. Caldwell 6 59 9.8 2
Touchdowns Player TD
San Diego K. Allen 2
Denver A. Caldwell 2
Season (Regular Season and Playoffs)
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
San Diego P. Rivers 69.6 4606 33 11
Denver P. Manning 68.3 5477 55 10
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
San Diego R. Mathews 298 1307 4.4 6
Denver K. Moreno 241 1038 4.3 10
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
San Diego K. Allen 73 1067 14.6 8
Denver D. Thomas 92 1430 15.5 14
Touchdowns Player TD
San Diego D. Woodhead 9
Denver D. Thomas 14