A Dose of Playoff Kryptonite for Peyton

Sometimes, it’s good to be an unknown blogger. sportsthink is too obscure to ever be considered fit for the Denver Broncos’ bulletin board.

But if Peyton Manning’s ipad ever saw fit to direct him to this electronic rag, I’m sure the following post would have the Broncos in fits.

The Chargers should be favored on Sunday.

This Chargers-Broncos matchup comes down to much more than Number One Seed vs. Upstart Wild Card. The Chargers actually have the Broncos number.

Peyton and his stable of horses failed to eclipse 31 points in only three games this year. Two were against the Chargers.

The Chargers held the ball for more than 38 minutes in each contest. The Broncos averaged 13 possessions per game against un-Charged opponents; the Bolts held them to 11 and 9 possessions in their two games.

The Chargers’ success against the Broncos this season can’t be attributed to ball control alone. An offense that scored on nearly 50% of drives scored on only 8 of 20 against the Chargers. In the teams’ most recent meeting in Denver, the Chargers forced three consecutive three-and-outs, not to mention a four play drive and a critical, fourth-quarter interception at the Broncos’ end of the field. This team, even before the return of Melvin Ingram, drove Peyton to distraction with blanket coverage, well-timed blitzes, and methodical, clock-eating drives.

And nothing about their demolition of Cincinnati last week suggests the Chargers are off their game, does it?

Every team in the playoffs got there through an impressive combination of talent and teamwork. San Diego is no exception. The Bolts may not have the depth of other teams, but they have a talented core, smart coaches, and an elite quarterback. Denver’s 13 wins don’t separate them from the playoff competition quite as much as analysts would like to think, either. No matter how badly they whipped Oakland or Tennessee in September, who knows how they’ll react when facing down the gun barrel of a championship-caliber team poised to knock them off in January?

Lets put it this way: NFL playoff history is littered with teams that, sporting endless star talent, rolled into the playoffs on a high, seemingly unbeatable at home. Unfortunately, a defense sometimes falters and a quarterback can implode for four turnovers. Such teams bow out with nothing but the memories of a great regular season.

Oh, you thought I was talking about Andy Dalton? That was the story of last year’s Denver Broncos as well.

If you thought the Bengals were the first team to stumble in the playoffs, think again.

If you thought the Bengals were the first team to stumble in the playoffs, think again.

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