Updated 09:18 AM EST, Mon, Dec 06, 2021

NFL Playoffs 2014 Predictions and Preview: Philip Rivers & the Chargers Look to Spoil Broncos QB Peyton Manning's Record-Breaking Season

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Considering the type of season the Denver Broncos have had, with QB Peyton Manning shattering National Football League (NFL) records left and right, most would think that San Diego Chargers would be in trouble heading into Sunday afternoon's NFL Divisional Playoff game.

Yet, the Chargers are on a five-game winning streak, including a 27-20 win over the Broncos in Week 15, and made the playoffs after the referees botched a call in San Diego's Week 17 overtime win against the Kansas City Chiefs that allowed them to earn the victory and get past the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC wild-card standings.

Chargers QB Philip Rivers had an excellent year, finishing the year fourth in the league in touchdowns (32), completing 69.5 percent of his passes for 4,478 yards this season. Rivers, who threw for 166 yards and two touchdowns against the Broncos in Week 15, was consistent last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, completing 12-of-16 passes for 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," said Chargers head coach and former Broncos offensive coordinator Mike McCoy. "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 defense will have their hands full against the Broncos potent offense, having allowed 366.5 yards per game this season, ranked 23rd in sacks (35 sacks), 26th in interceptions (11 interceptions), and lacking dynamic play-makers on the defensive side of the ball that can create turnovers but have managed to find ways to help the team win, holding victories over fast-paced offenses such as the Kansas Chiefs, the Denver Broncos, and the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Broncos offense has been putting up mind-numbing numbers that seem straight out of a John Madden video game, going 13-3 for the season compiling 606 points this year, the most in the history of the NFL and the only team ever to crack the 600-barrier. Manning also set NFL season records for passing (threw for 5,477 yards) and touchdowns (tossed 55 touchdowns).

The Broncos defense has been more human than the offense, entering the postseason 19th in the league in yards allowed (356.0 per game), 22nd in points allowed (24.9 ppg), and tied for 13th for in sacks (41) and will have their hands full against Rivers in Sunday's game.

"We know we've played well," said Broncos defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio after Friday's practice. "We've been very stingy in the run, we've gotten people off the field, we've held the point totals down and we expect to play good defense. It's been closer to what we're looking for the last few weeks and that's a good sign for us as we get ready to go into these playoffs."

Predictions: San Diego has been riding high, playing the "us against the world" card after criticism for the way they got into the playoffs but Peyton Manning is playing at another level that will shred the Chargers defense despite a previous regular-season victory, setting up another Tom Brady-Peyton Manning match-up in the AFC Championship game.

You can catch the San Diego Chargers-Denver Broncos NFL Divisional Playoffs round at Saturday, 4:40 p.m. EST on CBS.

Live Stream (online)
Live stream coverage can be seen on NFL RedZone.

Live Stream (Radio)
Live stream coverage can be heard on NFL Audio Pass and Sirius XM Radio.

Live Score
Live scores could be followed by clicking here.

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