KICKOFF: Saturday, 8:00 ET
TV: NBC (Al Michaels, John Madden, Andrea Kremer)
SERIES: 26th meeting. The Chargers lead the series 15-10, and the teams are tied 1-1 in postseason matchups. The Chargers fell to the Colts in the regular season this year at home, 23-20. But last season, the Chargers upset the host Colts in a divisional playoff game, 28-24. The Chargers pulled off the unlikely victory despite QB Philip Rivers and RB LaDainian Tomlinson not playing down the stretch because of knee injuries.
KEYS TO THE GAME: The Chargers finished the regular season 31st in defending the pass. They've had some success creating turnovers against Colts QB Peyton Manning in the past, including nine interceptions in three meetings the past two seasons. But while Manning is playing well and has a deep set of downfield targets, the Chargers don't generate a consistent pass rush and the cornerbacks, particularly Antonio Cromartie, have struggled all season even though the defense has stepped it up since defensive coordinator Ron Rivera took over. If RB Joseph Addai is able to have success early, the Chargers will be extremely vulnerable off play-action. ... The Chargers' offense has gone as far as QB Philip Rivers has taken them most of the season as he was the NFL's top-rated passer. But the Colts' defensive strength is their team speed and they can certainly stress the Chargers' protection in obvious passing situations. RB LaDainian Tomlinson won't be 100 percent, but San Diego needs him in the lineup and showing the quick cutting and hard running that hurt Denver so much last Sunday night. Backup RB Darren Sproles is one of the league's best screen runners and can also help negate some of the Colts' speed.
KEY INJURIES: Colts: LB Gary Brackett (broken right fibula) is out; RB Dominic Rhodes (chest/ribs) and SS Bob Sanders (knee) will play. Chargers: Tomlinson (groin) has been limited in practice and will be a gametime decision; TE Antonio Gates (ankle) is expected to play.
FAST FACTS: The teams have split two previous playoff meetings, included a 28-24 Chargers win at home in the Divisional playoffs last season. ... Manning is tied with Dan Fouts for second place in NFL history with five 300-yard passing games in the playoffs. Joe Montana had six.
PREDICTION: Colts 30-27