Thursday NFL Football Prediction: San Diego Chargers vs Denver Broncos

by Tomas Lopez

Thursday NFL Football Prediction: San Diego Chargers vs Denver Broncos

The Denver Broncos can wrap up a perfect home record - and move a step closer to ensuring they stay there throughout the playoffs - with a win over the visiting San Diego Chargers on Thursday. Denver has clinched a playoff spot and has a one-game lead over Kansas City in the AFC West and over New England for the AFC's top seed. "I guess you have some security but our job is not finished," receiver Eric Decker told the team's website. "Winning this division is No. 1, and winning this conference is No. 2."

While the Broncos hold the head-to-head tiebreaker over the Chiefs, their margin of error for home-field advantage is ultra thin by virtue of losing to the Patriots in overtime last month. The Chargers are backed much farther into the corner, sitting one game behind Miami and Baltimore in the race for the last playoff spot. To a man, the Chargers called their 37-14 drubbing of the New York Giants on Sunday their most complete game of the season, and they'll likely need to duplicate it to upset the Broncos in Denver.

  San Diego Chargers at Denver Broncos
When: 8:25 PM ET, Thursday, December 12, 2013
Where: Sports Authority Field at Mile High, Denver, Colorado
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, NFL Network.

Opening Odds: Denver -10½ - O/U: 52½
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San Diego Chargers (6-7): San Diego has a glimmer of hope after winning two of his last three but its remaining schedule includes not only the trip to Denver but also a visit from the Chiefs in the season finale. Quarterback Philip Rivers has enjoyed a resurgent season, completing 70.3 percent of his passes for 3,882 yards with 26 TDs and nine interceptions. The defense has given up more than 400 total yards four times and surrendered 397 in a 28-20 home loss to Denver in Week 10, but the Chargers have forced 12 turnovers in their past eight games after just two takeaways in their first five contests.

Denver Broncos (11-2): Denver is 7-0 at home, where it has won by an average of 20.4 points after last week's 51-28 triumph over Tennessee. Quarterback Peyton Manning put to rest any concerns about his ability to perform in cold weather, going 39-of-59 for 397 yards and four touchdowns against the Titans with the temperature well below freezing. Manning has a bevy of weapons at his disposal, as the Broncos are the first team in NFL history to have four players with 10 or more touchdowns - Knowshon Moreno (12), Julius Thomas (11), Demaryius Thomas (11) and Wes Welker (10).

1. Manning has recorded 11 games with 300 or more passing yards this season, tying Tom Brady for the second-most in NFL history.

2. Chargers WR Keenan Allen has 61 receptions - a franchise record for a rookie - for 902 yards and five TDs.

3. The Broncos need to score 75 points in their last three games to break the NFL record of 589 set by the 2007 Patriots. They average 39.6.

NFL Football Prediction: Broncos 37, Chargers 27.

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