Game: San Diego Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals
When: Sunday, January 5th, 2014, 1:05 P.M. EST
Line: Bengals -7.0
Why the Chargers Will Win:
The San Diego Chargers have proven that they can beat anyone this seasons with big divisional wins against Denver and Kansas City with their playoff hopes dwindling. Quarterback Philip Rivers is jacked up to be in the playoffs for the first time since 2010, and has played the best ball of his career this season. His determination is tough to count out.
Running back Ryan Mathews quietly put together the type of season that the Chargers envisioned when drafting him, and is a key reason they are currently streaking. If he can keep the explosive Bengals' offense off the field, he can quell the invigorated crowd and give his team hope. While Rivers must play well, Mathews will be the reason they win this game.
Why the Bengals Will Win:
The Bengals are undefeated at home this season, and have a nasty defense with offensive playmakers in all the right positions. This is a very good football team that has aspirations beyond wild card weekend.
Beating the Bengals is only possible with pressure on quarterback Andy Dalton. He makes mistakes when forced to react quickly, and occasionally has games where he turns the ball over multiple times.
Scratch all of that, though, as Dalton will lean on the running back duo of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and Giovani Bernard, only taking shots deep to A.J. Green and Marvin Jones when the situation allows it. Dalton can rely on the rest of his team to carry them into the divisional round.
While many have the Chargers pegged as a team of destiny, I don't see them winning this game. Cincinnati may surprise people in these playoffs, and cannot be bet against at home. The Bengals win with ease, 34-21.
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