Line: Broncos -9
The Cincinnati Bengals were the team that was regarded as the wild card most likely to advance to the Superbowl. Well apparently nobody told the San Diego Chargers who went on the road on beat the Bengals in the Wild Card Round. The Chargers are a well-balanced team; they run a balanced offense that features the short passing game behind quarterback Philip Rivers and the running back combination of Danny Woodhead and Ryan Matthews. Matthew is a traditional back who has been somewhat of a bust for most of his career but has played extremely well in recent weeks. Woodhead is a big threat out of the backfield and is strong between the tackles despite his relatively thin frame. There is also the presence of multi time pro bowl tight end Antonio Gates who had a rebirth of a season after being relatively healthy for the first time in years. The defense is not full of household names outside of linebacker Mantei Teo however they are an efficient and aggressive defense that like to put pressure on opposing quarterbacks.
The Denver Broncos had one of the best seasons in NFL history. Quarterback Peyton Manning threw for over 50 touchdown passes which is an NFL record. The running back situation eventually evolved into a two-man rotation between Knowshon Moreno and rookie Montee Ball. Moreno had over ten touchdowns and is an overall threat. Ball is a strong power back capable of smashing straight ahead as well as breaking a run on the perimeter for a touchdown. Second year tight end Julius Thomas was a touchdown-catching machine and contributed as a run blocker as well. The tight end has always been a weapon in all Manning led attacks and he may be the most prolific of them all. The three-headed monster at wideout of Demarius Thomas, Wes Welker, and Eric Decker was by far the most productive group in the league. Welker is the top slot receiver in the league while Decker and Thomas can catch anything thrown their way.
Broncos coach Mike McCoy was the offensive coordinator for the Broncos last season and it s a safe bet to assume that he heard the theory that Peyton manning was the real coordinator for the Broncos. It’s easy to forget that he was also the coordinator when the Broncos installed Tim Tebow at quarterback and had to build an entire offense on the fly. He did this and was able to win a playoff game with a quarterback who has not started an NFL game since. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he has had success as a head coach. The true sign of a coach is being able to adapt his system to his personnel and he has shown fully capable of doing that. Perhaps he will have enough familiarity with the Broncos to pull off one of the biggest upsets in NFL history.
Pick: Chargers +9
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