San Diego Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals
The Cincinnati Bengals and the San Diego Chargers face off on Sunday in a AFC Wildcard Playoff game. The Bengals are -7 point favorites over the Chargers with an over/under point total set at 46.
The Cincinnati Bengals have been a playoff team for the past two seasons but they haven’t been able to get a win either year. The Bengals won the AFC North this season and own wins over the Patriots, Packers, and Colts among others. Andy Dalton gets better every year and he completed 61.9 percent of his passes for 4,296 yards with 33 touchdowns and 20 interceptions. The Bengals went with two running backs with BenJarvus Gren-Ellis rushing for 756 yards and Giovanni Bernard rushing for 695 yards and catching 56 passes out of the backfield. A.J. Green had a monster year catching 96 passes for 1,426 yards but he got help as Marvin Jones caught 51 passes, Mohamed Sanu caught 47 passes, and Jermaine Gresham caught 46 passes. The Bengals offense averaged 26.9 points and 368.4 yards per game. Vontaze Burfict had a huge year with 171 tackles and 3.0 sacks, Rey Maualuga had 75 tackles, and Carlos Dunlap and Wallace Gilberry each had 7.5 sacks. The Bengals defense allowed 19.1 points per game and a third best in the NFL 305.5 yards per game as the Cincinnati defense didn’t rank worse than fifth in any defensive category while also ringing up 43 sacks and grabbing 20 interceptions. The Bengals have gotten better each year since drafting Dalton.
The San Diego Chargers needed help to make it into the playoffs and they got the help from the Jets and the Bengals along with the officials to beat the Chiefs in week 17 and snag the sixth seed in the AFC Playoffs. The Chargers were playoff regulars just a few years back but it has been a while since they have been to the post season. Philip Rivers has the quickest release in the NFL and he used it complete 69.5 percent of his passes for 4,478 yards with 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. Ryan Mathews had his best season rushing for 1,255 yards and Danny Woodhead rushed for 429 yards and had 76 receptions. Antonio Gates stayed healthy and had 77 receptions and Keenan Allen had 71 receptions for 1,046 yards. The Chargers offense averaged 24.8 points and a fifth best in the NFL 393.3 yards per game and they were 4th in the NFL In passing yards at 270.5 per game. Eric Weddle led the Chargers defense with 115 tackles, Donald Butler had 84 tackles, and Marcus Gilchrist had 77 tackles. The Chargers defense allowed 21.8 points and 366.5 yards per game but San Diego was minus four in turnover ratio. The Chargers have a lot to prove and look for them to be motivated in this one.
Cincinnati is 5-0 against the spread against a team with a winning record, 4-1 against the spread against the AFC, and 11-1 against the spread in their last 12 home games. San Diego is 6-2 against the spread following a game that they didn’t cover the point spread, 7-3-1 against the spread in their last 11 road games, and 3-9-1 against the spread following a win. The road team has covered the point spread in six of the last seven meetings of these two.
These two teams met on December 1st in San Diego with the Bengals winning 17-10. The score was tied at seven all at the half but the Bengals controlled the second half The Chargers turned the ball over three times in the loss while the Bengals turned the ball over twice. Philip Rivers was sacked twice in the loss while Andy Dalton wasn’t sacked. The Bengals outrushed the Chargers 164-91 while the Chargers led the passing stats 243-190.
There were 27 points scored in the first meeting in what was probably better weather than what they will see in this one so I like the defenses to win again so my pick is on the under.