AFC Play-offs: Manning can rip up Chargers defence
When Peyton Manning is in-form he is a horrible sight for any side but if, like the San Diego Chargers, you have the second-worst pass defence in the NFL then you must be fearing for your life.
After missing all four pre-season matches following knee surgery, Manning was understandably off the pace in the early weeks of the season but, since the week eight loss against Tennessee, he has been close to perfect.
The nine-time Pro Bowler has carried the Colts to a nine game winning streak, moving his team from play-off outsiders to 8/1 Super Bowl XLIII outright shots, all the while putting himself in MVP reckoning.
His ninth 4000+ passing yards season in ten years is further evidence that Peyton is not only the best Manning in the NFL but also the most uniquely talented quarterback this century has seen.
This all makes the 10/11 about a Colts victory look great value and this is before we get into the Chargers' defensive woes.
Where do you start with San Diego's defence? Firstly you have to look at the pass rush Manning will be facing... oh wait, there isn't one!
Shawne Merriman's injury has been disastrous, with his replacement, Jyles Tucker, not offering the same sort of sack threat from outside linebacker, although Shaun Phillips has not exactly distinguished himself either.
However, it is not only the linebackers but the entire San Diego secondary that seems to have failed, with the likes of Antonio Cromartie and Quentin Jammer looking off the pace for a large part of the season - it all led to defensive co-ordinator Ted Cottrell's sacking.
Without an effective pass rush you have to look at the 8/13 about Indianapolis having most sacks as a banker and, despite the short price, could be the best bet available on this wild-card match-up.
San Diego do have positives on the offensive side, most notably Philip Rivers, LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates but they barely justify the 10/11 about progressing to the second round of the play-offs.
LT is getting back to his best after a below-par 2008 and could be value at 4/1 to score the first touchdown, while the 7/1 about the Colts Joseph Addai to score first looks a little short.
However, the best bet on the first touchdown scorer market may be the 10/1 about tight-end Dallas Clark, as the sixth-year has been in good form and has become one of Manning's primary targets this year.
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