San Diego at Indianapolis
Time: Sunday, 1 p.m. ET
Players to watch
Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers.
This is Peyton Manning’s team, and the Colts are still the defending Super Bowl champions. He’s finally got future hall-of-fame receiver Marvin Harrison back, which will really open up the field for fellow wideout Reggie Wayne. Dallas Clark is a great target at tight end. The Colts rely on running back Joseph Addai to keep defenses honest. But it’s the defense that has really shined this year, ranking first in points allowed and third in yards allowed. The key to that defense is safety Bob Sanders, who hits as hard as anyone in the league. Defensive end Robert Mathis leads the pass rush.
The Chargers win if
San Diego has to play pretty much a perfect game offensively — no turnovers. On defense, they’ve got to get at least two takeaways, including one that goes for a touchdown. Another big play from Sproles on special teams could result in a huge upset.
The Colts win if
The Chargers lose if
Lose the turnover battle, don’t pressure Manning, fail to contain Addai. That will pretty much spell for San Diego what it’s spelled for everyone else for several years now — defeat.
The Colts lose if
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Colts quarterback Peyton Manning.
It’s hard to see how San Diego, as good as their defense is, can outgun the Colts, who are playoff hardened and defending their Super Bowl crown. The Colts are comfortable playing tight relatively low-scoring games, and they’ll do that against San Diego. Sanders will be huge in bottling up Tomlinson, and Rivers will commit several critical errors, sending the Colts to an AFC Championship showdown against the Patriots. Colts 20, Chargers 10.
PFT: Defensive end finally finds a new team in San Diego — and for a honey of a deal that would be worth a max of $13.35 million.