The new touchdown king of the NFL quarterbacks isn't getting much time to savor his record-breaking night, as Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos face a quick turnaround and a key division clash against the visiting San Diego Chargers on Thursday. The Broncos are aiming for their fourth straight win after Manning passed for 318 yards and four TDs in a 42-17 win over San Francisco on Sunday night. Denver has a half-game cushion in the AFC West over San Diego, which had a five-game winning streak snapped with a 23-20 loss to Kansas City on Sunday.
Manning's 33rd game of four or more touchdowns gave him 510 career TD passes, moving him past Brett Favre (508) for the NFL's all-time lead. Both Manning (9-2) and Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (4-1) have performed well on Thursday, though Rivers and San Diego outdueled Manning and the Broncos in a 27-20 victory on Thursday night last December. The teams have split their 10 meetings over the past five seasons, but the Broncos have won four of the past five.
TV: 8:25 p.m. ET, CBS, NFL Network. LINE: Broncos -7.5. O/U: 51.
ABOUT THE CHARGERS (5-2): Rivers (1,961 yards, 17 TDs, 3 INTs) has put up huge numbers, but the offense stalled against the Chiefs with a season-low 251 total yards. The Chargers also had a tough time stopping the run, giving up a season-high 154 yards on the ground, but that's not likely to be a concern against Denver. San Diego ranks third in the NFL against the pass and has not allowed more than 300 passing yards yet this season.
ABOUT THE BRONCOS (5-1): Even at age 38, Manning (1,848 yards, 19 TDs, 3 INTs) boasts the top quarterback rating in the AFC, and the Broncos have put up 31 or more points in three straight games. Denver's receiving corps will test San Diego's strong pass defense, as four receivers have at least 17 receptions and at least one touchdown. The Broncos' defense has been somewhat susceptible to the pass but ranks third in the league against the run and hasn't allowed more than 62 rushing yards during the three-game winning streak.
1. Rivers' six consecutive multi-TD games are tied with Dan Fouts (1981) for the most in team history, while Manning has thrown multiple touchdown passes in 12 straight games.
2. Broncos TE Julius Thomas needs one TD reception to become the first player in club history with 10 or more TD catches in consecutive seasons.
3. San Diego TE Antonio Gates needs 29 receiving yards to surpass Hall of Famer Lance Alworth (9,584) as the franchise's all-time leader.
PREDICTION: Broncos 31, Chargers 20