AFC Wild Card Round: Chargers vs Bengals

Chargers vs Bengals Wild Card preview

1/4/14 in NFL   |   jakeryanbrown   |   28 respect

(6) Chargers (9-7) @ (3) Bengals (11-5) – Sunday, 1:00PM at Paul Brown Stadium (37 degrees, 100% precipitation, snow)

November 18, 2012; Denver, CO, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers (17) during the second quarter against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.  Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY SportsThe last time the Bengals won a playoff game, George H. Bush was in office, 23 years ago.  The Chargers return to the playoffs for the first time since 2009, after winning four straight AFC West titles.  Phillip Rivers is 3-4 in his postseason career, but will have to do it on the road Sunday.  The Bengals were 8-0 at Paul Brown Stadium this season.  San Diego is lucky to have got in to the playoffs after the refs missed what should have been a penalty on them on Ryan Succop’s missed field goal that would have won the game. 
Andy Dalton has been miserable in the past two postseasons against the Texans, throwing no touchdowns and four interceptions while getting sacked six times.  Dalton has been up-and-down all season for this Bengals team that won the AFC North with a 11-5 record.  Their defense was a big reason for that, giving up just 19 PPG and finishing 5th in the NFL against the run and pass.  Despite Dalton’s struggles, he did have the best season for a QB in Bengals franchise history.  They will need some production from their backfield duo of Giovani Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis in what should be a snowy day in Cincinnati. 
Weather will be a factor in this game, and the advantage has to go to the team that plays in the cold.  Dec 29, 2013; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) against the Baltimore Ravens at Paul Brown Stadium. Bengals defeated the Ravens 34-17. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY SportsSan Diego comes into the playoffs hot, but winning in the snow against a fierce defense is going to be hard for Rivers.  This game should be close and low scoring because of the snow, but the home team with the top-five defense gets the edge in this matchup.  The once 5-7 Chargers were lucky to even sneak in to play January football after the missed field goal and missed call last week.  There’s no denying how good of a season Rivers had, leading he NFL in completion percentage and throwing 32 TDs, but it’s a whole different story in frigid temperatures in the snow. 
The Chargers will make this game very interesting and it wouldn’t be surprising to see this game go to overtime.  The Bengals 23-year drought without a playoff win finally comes to an end on a snowy Sunday in Ohio.  Mike Nugent will knock down a game-winning field goal at the end of regulation to send the Chargers packing.
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