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NFL Playoffs 2014: San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals Game Preview

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Stephen Dunn
San Diego Chargers
Sunday, January 5, 2014 - 1:05 PM ET
Cincinnati Bengals




270.4 (4th) Pass Off. 258.7 (8th)
122.8 (13th) Rush Off. 109.7 (18th)
258.7 (28th) Pass Def. 209.0 (5th)
107.8 (11th) Rush Def. 96.5 (5th)
9-7 Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati, Ohio 11-5
6th Seed Spread: Bengals -7 3rd Seed

The most dangerous team in the first round of the playoffs is the San Diego Chargers. No question and in spite of Pete Prisco's bold claim about the Cincinnati Bengals winning it all, I smell an upset in the winds. Why you ask? It's the freaking Bengals!

Yesterday, I talked about how the Kansas City Chiefs had not won a playoff game in 20 years. Well, the Bengals here have not won a playoff game in 22 years! Not only that, but unlike the Chiefs, they have been in the playoffs quite frequently over the last few years and no matter if the game is at home or on the road, this team comes up short.

Andy Dalton will need to match Philip Rivers blow for blow, which is something Dalton has been unable to do in his career so far in the playoffs. He has come up short against Matt Schaub in each of his first two season in the league and Philip Rivers is playing much better this season than Schaub ever has.

Dalton and the Bengals are not short on confidence, however:

This is a confident group, not only me, but this team, this offense and everything that we’re doing. Any time you beat a team, you have confidence. What we’ve been able to do the last several weeks has really brought on a lot of confidence for us.

If the Bengals do come up short this week, they may need to think about making some coaching changes. Dan Reeves won a ton of football games with the Denver Broncos, but at some point you need to win the only game that matters and I think Marvin Lewis is getting close to that point in his tenure with the Bengals. Two Pro-Bowl quarterbacks should have produces a playoff win by now.

The Chargers on the other hand entered the 2014 NFL Playoffs through a backdoor. Actually, it was a retaining wall bashed open that lead through an alley TO the backdoor of the playoffs. Everything went right for this team to get into the playoffs in Week 17, including a non-call penalty that should have resulted in a retry for a game winning field goal by the Kansas City Chiefs that would have sent the Pittsburgh Steelers to this game.

Chargers head coach, Mike McCoy put it this way:

Things happen for a reason. I can’t always tell you why, but they happen for reasons.

The reason for me is simple, they want to come back into Denver and beat the Broncos two consecutive games at Mile High Stadium. This Broncos fan dislikes that greatly, but I also think its the most likely thing that will happen.

Hopefully, if that rematch were to happen, the atmosphere will be different and the entire Broncos team will be well rested and ready for war. Because Peyton Manning and the Broncos have unfinished business to take care of.

Chargers 31, Bengals 24