coleryan Posts:16234 Followers:21
01/12/2014 12:13 PM

AFC Divisional Playoffs
Kickoff: Sunday, 4:40 p.m. ET
Line: Denver -10, Total: 54.5

The sizzling-hot Chargers try to win their fourth straight road game in Sunday's divisional playoff game when they visit the top-seeded Broncos for the second time in a month.

San Diego's 27-10 blowout win at Cincinnati to open the playoffs gives the team at least 26 points in each of five straight wins overall. During that run, the club held a 177 to 18 rushing advantage in its 27-20 upset victory in Denver on Dec. 12. That was the Broncos' lone home loss this year, where they are 5-2-1 ATS and have racked up 39.5 PPG and 456 total YPG. Denver QB Peyton Manning is 9-9 in his playoff career, including 0-2 versus the Chargers, but since joining the Broncos, he has torched San Diego for 300 passing YPG, 12 TD and 3 INT in four meetings. San Diego QB Philip Rivers is a mediocre 4-4 in his playoff career with 244 passing YPG, 9 TD and 9 INT, but he has usually played very well in this series, going 10-6 with 232 passing YPG, 27 TD and 13 INT in his career versus Denver. Since 1992, the Chargers are 19-8 ATS (70%) when the total is at least 49.5 points, and 39-23 ATS (63%) after 3+ straight wins. But the Broncos are 8-0 ATS off a road victory versus a division rival in the past three seasons, and John Fox is 21-4 ATS (84%) after two straight games with a turnover margin of +1 or better as an NFL head coach. San Diego has major injury concerns as top RB Ryan Mathews left last week's game with a recurring ankle ailment and is questionable for this contest. Two key offensive linemen for the Chargers, OT D.J. Fluker (foot) and C Nick Hardwick (stinger) were also injured in the win over the Bengals and are questionable for the game. Denver is pretty healthy after its bye week, with WR Wes Welker (concussion) cleared to play and DE Derek Wolfe (illness) also listed as probable. But C Steve Vallos (concussion), S Duke Ihenacho (concussion) and CB Kayvon Webster (thumb) are all questionable for Sunday's game.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0
coleryan Posts:16234 Followers:21
01/12/2014 12:13 PM

The Chargers offense was very efficient during the regular season, leading the NFL in both time of possession (33:35) and third-down conversions (49%), but in last week's win, they had the ball for just 29:28 and converted only 4-of-12 third downs. San Diego was outgained 439 to 318 by the Bengals, but was able to win easily thanks to a +4 turnover margin. Even with RB Ryan Mathews missing a good part of the second half last week with his ankle injury, the team still rushed for a season-high 196 yards on 40 carries (4.9 YPC). That gives the Chargers 140+ rushing yards in each of the past five games (170 rushing YPG), including 177 yards on 44 carries (4.0 YPC) in the win at Denver on Dec. 12. Mathews had 127 of those yards, but if he cannot play, RB Danny Woodhead and veteran RB Ronnie Brown will look to build on their combined 129 yards on 21 carries (6.1 YPC) last week, including a 58-yard TD scamper from Brown to seal the victory late in the fourth quarter. San Diego should also be able to move the football through the air, as it had the NFL's fourth-best passing attack (271 YPG) during the regular season. QB Philip Rivers has been outstanding in his nine road games this season, completing 72% of his passes for 2,624 yards (292 YPG), 8.8 YPA, 16 TD and 6 INT. He has also thrived in the Denver thin air in his career, going 6-2 and completing 64.4% of his passes for 2,001 yards (250 YPG), 8.9 YPA, 13 TD and 7 INT in his eight career visits to Sports Authority Field. In the Dec. 12 victory there, he threw for only 166 yards, but still tossed a pair of touchdown passes to dynamic rookie WR Keenan Allen. Rivers also leans heavily on Woodhead and TE Antonio Gates, as all three players had more than 70 receptions during the regular season. Gates has had a wonderful career, but his numbers versus the Broncos aren't that special (48 receiving YPG, 6 TD in 19 games). San Diego's defense has done a great job of keeping the Broncos' explosive offense in check this year, holding them to 24.0 PPG on 346 total YPG, which is well below their season averages of 37.9 PPG and 457 total YPG. But this defense still has plenty of holes. Despite being on the field for just 27:42 per game this season, this unit has allowed 371 total YPG, including 107 rushing YPG on 4.5 YPC and 263 passing YPG on 7.5 net YPA. The Chargers have allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 66% of their passes for 24 touchdowns. These numbers have been even worse on the road where they surrender 399 total YPG on 4.8 YPC and 7.8 net YPA. But the defense has done a great job of forcing turnovers recently, compiling 14 takeaways over the past seven games. San Diego is 6-1 (SU and ATS) when it wins the turnover battle this season, something that is obviously key going up against what is clearly the best offense in the NFL.

The Broncos are known mostly for their passing offense orchestrated by Peyton Manning, but they have been able to run the ball effectively for the most part this season with 12 games of more than 100 rushing yards. Two of the exceptions were against the Chargers though, when they averaged a paltry 51.0 rushing YPG on 3.1 yards per carry. But RB Knowshon Moreno finished the year with 1,038 rushing yards and 10 TD, while adding another 548 yards and 3 TD through the air. In his seven career games in this series, Moreno has rushed for 307 yards on just 70 carries (4.4 YPC), while gaining another 194 through the air. The Broncos have just punished teams with their air attack all season with 340 YPG on 8.3 YPA. Manning is coming off the best statistical season in NFL history, completing 68.3% of his throws for 5,477 yards, 55 TD and only 10 INT. But in his 9-9 playoff career, his numbers are below his lofty standards (292 passing YPG, 7.7 YPA, 31 TD, 21 INT). But in his two seasons with the Broncos, Manning has played 17 home games where he's completed 68.4% of his passes for 5,492 yards (323 YPG), 8.1 YPA, 52 TD and just 10 INT. This includes his 290 passing yards, 3 TD and 2 INT in last year's home playoff loss to Baltimore, which marked the eighth time in Manning's career that he lost his first postseason game. To prevent that from happening again, he will continue to spread the ball between his four talented receivers, WRs Demaryius Thomas (1,430 rec. yards, 14 TD), Eric Decker (1,288 rec. yards, 11 TD) and Wes Welker (778 rec. yards, 10 TD), and TE Julius Thomas (788 rec. yards, 12 TD). Despite all these players catching double-digit TD passes this year, none of these four receivers scored a touchdown in the Week 15 loss to San Diego, as WR Andre Caldwell (200 rec. yards, 3 TD) caught both Manning TD throws that day filling in for the injured Welker. Defensively, the Broncos have had their problems, especially in the red zone where they ranked 25th in the NFL by allowing 62% of their opponents' drives to end in touchdowns. They have stopped the run pretty effectively, ranking among the top-10 teams in the league in both rushing YPG (102) and YPC allowed (3.9), but have been burned through the air for 254 passing YPG (27th in NFL), 6.6 net YPA and 29 touchdowns (T-7th most in league). Denver has also seen a substantial decrease in sacks this year (41 sacks, T-13th in NFL), compared to a league-high-tying 52 sacks last season. The Broncos do have some playmakers on defense though, posting multiple takeaways in half of their games this season, including 15 takeaways in their past nine contests.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0
coleryan Posts:16234 Followers:21
01/12/2014 12:13 PM

Carolina: worse offense (per play) of any remaining playoff team

Carolina defense yielded the 2nd least yards in the league

San Fran 14th in net yardage differential – outgaining opponents by only 109 yards on the season

Carolina defense has yielded the 2nd least rushing yards

Carolina defense has yielded the 2nd least points in the league

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0
coleryan Posts:16234 Followers:21
01/12/2014 12:14 PM

San Francisco 49ers at Carolina Panthers (Pick, 41)

Niners’ momentum vs. Panthers’ bye week blues

As past playoff pushes have shown us, it’s the hot team – not the higher seed – that has the edge. And no team in football is hotter than the 49ers. Not even the icy temps at Lambeau Field could slow down San Francisco, which has won seven in a row (4-3 ATS). The 49ers are coming off a massive victory over Green Bay on a last-second field goal and are out to avenge a loss to Carolina earlier this season.

The Panthers built up a lot of momentum in the final weeks of the season, winning three straight and 11 of their final 12 games to grab the No. 2 seed in the NFC and a first-round bye. But many are asking if Carolina has peaked and whether taking a week off will cool the Panthers’ play. Carolina is no fan of the bye week – playoff or regular season. The Panthers are 0-3 SU and ATS coming off the bye week under coach Ron Rivera and were knocked out of the playoffs in 2008 after a 12-4 season earned them a first-round break, losing 33-13 as 9.5-point favorites to Arizona in the Divisional Round.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0
coleryan Posts:16234 Followers:21
01/12/2014 12:16 PM

Chargers +9.5 at Denver

28th straight game Denver is favored
(23-4 SU and 19-8 ATS during the streak; San Diego last team favored over Denver)

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0
coleryan Posts:16234 Followers:21
01/12/2014 12:16 PM


  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0
coleryan Posts:16234 Followers:21
01/12/2014 12:17 PM


  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0
coleryan Posts:16234 Followers:21
01/12/2014 12:19 PM

NFL BLITZ BIG PLAYOFF PICKS

Looking to keep my winning ways going and will get the picks up early...

Panthers +1
Broncos -8


This pick was much tougher and I went back and forth on this one all week long---teh Peyton Manning talk about his legacy is what makes me drop this big chalk....

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0
coleryan Posts:16234 Followers:21
01/12/2014 12:19 PM

WHY 49ERS WILL COVER


The 49ers will cover Sunday’s game because they are back to nearly full health. This is most notable on the offensive side of the ball. When the 49ers lost 10-9 to the Panthers in Week 10, they were without Michael Crabtree, and they lost Vernon Davis and Eric Reid to concussions during the game. The 49ers will have a full contingent of tight ends and their playmaking wide receiver to help them attack a ferocious Panthers defense.

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0
coleryan Posts:16234 Followers:21
01/12/2014 12:19 PM

WHY PANTHERS WILL COVER


Colin Kaepernick has shredded below-average defenses this year (9-0 record, 18 TDs, zero interceptions), but struggled against the league's stouter units (3-4 record, seven TDs, eight interceptions). He had the worst game of his NFL career in a 10-9 home loss to the Panthers in mid-November. The Carolina defense sacked Kaepernick six times and held him to just 107 total yards (91 passing, 16 rushing).

  • Last 7 Days Record: 6-5-0