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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Week 12 NFL Predictions: Prime Time Edition

San Diego Chargers vs Indianapolis Colts: SD +3
By picking SD this week it will mean that I have picked against both of my Super Bowl teams.  I still think IND and GB have as good a chance as any to make it to the end, but they both have unfavorable matchups in week 12.  SD is coming off a short week, must travel to IND, and face one of the best offenses in the NFL, but when you focus the lens on this game it becomes clear that SD is the team that should be favored.  That might seem a little far-fetched given the situation, but SD's defense match up pretty well against Peyton and company.  They are good against the pass and run and rank in the top half of the league in red zone/third down defense.  Peyton will need to have one of his best games of the year to pull this one out.  

On the other side of the equation, SD have a nice edge in a category that IND usually dominates - points per game from long drives. I mention this stat a lot in my write-ups because it is one of the most underrated factors in winning and losing.  The teams that consistently come away with points from sustained drives usually win.  It also means that they dominate the time of possession and wear down the defense.  Of course this isn't rocket science, but it's not a traditional stat you see on most sites.  Another big advantage SD will have in this game is on the ground.  IND will have a hard time producing running yardage and an even tougher time stopping the SD running game.  Given how hot Rivers is playing right now, that's a dangerous problem to have.  SD could have their way with this defense and keep Peyton off the field for long stretches of time like they have done in the past.  SD isn't a team that IND likes to face and it should follow a similar script on Sunday night.  If IND want to win this game they will need to get the early lead and let Freeney/Mathis tee off on Rivers.  Even if this does happen I'm not sure it's enough to keep SD down all game.   The scariest thing for upcoming opponents of SD is that their offense hasn't peaked yet.  They will be adding Mathews, Jackson, and Gates back into the lineup soon.  It will be great theater to watch, but it's not a good time to be facing the Chargers.  Prediction: Bank SD +3.

Bonus Props:

Rivers 285.5 Passing Yards: OVER
Rivers 2 TD Passes: OVER
Brown 60.5 Rushing Yards: UNDER
V Jacksons vs P Garcon Receiving Yards: Jackson +6.5
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