AFC Wild Card
(6) Chargers at (3) Bengals
Chargers: I think many of us thought that this would be the Steelers and not the Chargers in the last playoff spot in the AFC. San Diego played hard to get here and Philip Rivers has an excellent record in the month of December. They are playing January football under a rookie head coach and that right there is pretty impressive of itself. The biggest piece to their offense has been Danny Woodhead. He’s been Rivers’ safety blanket pretty much all season. When his weapons down the field were all locked up, he could get the ball to Woodhead in the flat and he’d make something happen with the football. Ryan Mathews is also starting to look like the back we expected him to be when he was drafted. Sunday, the Chargers have a rematch with the Bengals this time in the playoffs.
Bengals: I have some concerns about this team as playoff time approaches. Andy Dalton didn’t look great on Sunday. He threw three interceptions. He has to get that fixed and take much better care of the football. I do like the pieces that they have on offense. You have a star receiver in A.J. Green, two towering tight ends in Gresham and Tyler Eifert and another star receiver in Marvin Jones who will see his fair share of one on one coverages because A.J. draws so much attention. The issue with the Bengals is their lack of mental toughness. They have all the talent in the world but a lack of mental toughness won’t win football games. The Bengals are in a good position here. They know it’ll be cold in Cincy and a California team has to come to them this time.
Prediction: When these two teams played each other last time, the Bengals went across the country and beat the Chargers in San Diego which is difficult for teams to do. The Bengals need to make an effort at shutting down Danny Woodhead and Keenan Allen because Rivers will look their way as much as he can. The Chargers game-plan is simple. Force someone not named A.J. Green to beat you. I like the Bengals to win this one. Bengals 27 Chargers 17.