2. If LaDainian Tomlinson is healthy enough to go on Saturday, look for him to make an impact as a receiver out of the backfield. In four meetings against the Colts -- not counting last year's playoffs, when LT left early with an injury -- Tomlinson averages four receptions per game against Indianapolis. If Tomlinson is compromised, look for those passes to go to Darren Sproles.
TE Antonio Gates
4. With Malcom Floyd primed to return, many analysts expect Chris Chambers to slip back into his role as the forgotten man. However, Chambers matches up very well against an Indianapolis secondary that only allowed six TD passes all season. In his last two games against the Colts, Chambers has combined for nine catches for 128 yards and a score. His disciplined intermediary routes allow him to make plays near the sidelines before the Colts safeties can get over to help.
5. Jeromey Clary may be the most important player on offense as he matches up with speedy DE Robert Mathis (11.5 sacks). The good news for the Chargers is that in their last three games against the Colts, Indianapolis has combined for just three sacks. The bad news is that all three sacks came from Mathis. The Chargers can't afford to give Clary much extra help, as TE Brandon Manumaleuna will be assisting against DE Dwight Freeney (10.5 sacks) on the other side.
NT Jamal Williams
7. Tim Dobbins and Matt Wilhelm have shared the right inside linebacker spot this season, but look for Wilhelm to go wire-to-wire against the Colts. Wilhelm plays in the nickel defense, which the Chargers will use exclusively against Indy's wide-open attack. In the last two regular season meetings against the Colts, Wilhelm has tallied 18 tackles and an interception.
8. The Chargers realize Manning can carve up a defense if given time, so the onus for generating a pass rush falls on starting OLBs Shaun Phillips and Jyles Tucker. Phillips (7.5 sacks) and Tucker (5.5 sacks) combined for 13 sacks this season; no other player on the Chargers roster posted more than 2.5 sacks.
9. San Diego's defensive player to watch is Antonio Cromartie, who has been an unmitigated disappointment this season yet always plays best on the largest stages. Just this week Manning called Cromartie a "shutdown" corner, likely because Cromartie has intercepted Manning four times in their last three meetings. Nonetheless, Manning will take plenty of shots at Cromartie, who will spend most of the game pitted against leading receiver Reggie Wayne (82 catches for 1,145 yards).
10. Nate Kaeding is hardly known as a clutch kicker, but he's done some of his best work against the Colts. In two of the last four games between these teams, Kaeding drilled a field goal of 47-plus yards with less than 3:30 to play to either tie the game or take the lead. For his career, Kaeding is 8-of-9 against the Colts (89 percent).
Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.