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TOP NEWS
ANTONIO GATES HAS NINE TOUCHDOWNS THIS YEAR.
Thu, 23 Dec 2010 01:17 PM EST

DENVER BRONCOS (3-6)
at SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (4-5)

Kickoff: Monday, 8:30 p.m. EDT, Line: San Diego -9, Total: 50

Two explosive passing offenses meet in this AFC West duel on Monday night. Philip Rivers, who leads the NFL with 2,944 passing yards, may not have his most reliable red-zone target. Antonio Gates (9 TD this year) will try to play through his torn plantar fascia on his foot when San Diego hosts Denver Monday night. He will test his injury in pregame warm-ups and make a decision on whether or not he can go. Two other key offensive players will likely be in street clothes on the San Diego sidelines — RB Ryan Mathews (ankle) and WR Legedu Naanee (hamstring). For Denver, WR Eddie Royal is not expected to play due to a hamstring injury. NFL scores.

Broncos QB Kyle Orton is second behind Rivers in the NFL with 2,806 yards. WR Brandon Lloyd leads the league in receiving yards per game (102 YPG). He has already tied his career highs in catches and touchdowns and needs just 32 yards to reach 1,000 for the season. Denver is still last in the NFL in rushing (77 YPG), but the Broncos did rack up 153 yards on the ground in last week’s 49-29 win over Kansas City.

San Diego ranks first in the league in both passing offense (312 YPG) and passing defense (185 YPG). Rivers has thrown 19 touchdowns and just eight interceptions this year. Although Gates is walking wounded, Rivers should get WR Malcom Floyd back on the field after missing the past three games with a hamstring injury. Floyd caught eight passes for 213 yards in Week 5 at Oakland, his last full game this season. With all the injuries to their receivers, the Chargers may look to run the ball more often, especially since Denver ranks second-to-last in the NFL in rushing defense, surrendering 143 YPG. Mike Tolbert is a strong replacement for Mathews with seven touchdowns and a 4.5 YPC average this year. NFL spreads.

The Chargers are 6-2 SU (7-1 ATS) in the past eight meetings with Denver. However, these two FoxSheets trends expect Denver to cover on Monday night.

Play On – Underdogs of 3.5 to 10 points (DENVER) – after going over the total by more than 28 points in their previous game, after the first month of the season. (43-15 since 1983.) (74.1%, +26.5 units. Rating = 3*). NFL lines.

Play Against – Home favorites (SAN DIEGO) – excellent passing team (>=265 PY/game) against an average passing defense (185-230 PY/game), after gaining 7 or more passing yards/attempt last game. (33-10 over the last 5 seasons.) (76.7%, +22 units. Rating = 3*).


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