29_35x90 knx_35x90
CBSLA WEATHER APP: iPhone App Store | Android App Coming Soon | More Info | Watch Josh's Live Demo

Tale of the tape

Wild Card Weekend: San Diego Chargers At Cincinnati Bengals

(credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) (credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
(credit: Stephen Dunn/Getty Images) (credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

San Diego Chargers

Cincinnati Bengals

Philip Rivers had one of the best seasons of any NFL quarterback – not named Peyton Manning – as he completed 69.5 percent of his passes and had a 32-11 TD-interception ratio. Rivers made a conscious decision to take what opposing defenses gave him and he did not force the ball into coverage this season. Continuing with that gameplan is what the Chargers need if they're going to come up with the road victory. Quarterback The Bengals have been a consistent team that has made the playoffs each of the past three seasons. If they are going to come up with a postseason victory, Andy Dalton is going to have to stay calm under pressure and avoid mistakes. Dalton is coming off a four-interception performance against Baltimore and it’s going to be hard for head coach Marvin Lewis to trust him when the game is on the line.
The Chargers don’t have a lot of gamebreakers on offense, but Ryan Mathews has been a solid running back who gets the most out of each carry. He gained 1,255 yards and 4.4 yards per carry, taking much of the heat off of Rivers. Keenan Allen is an improving wide receiver who makes athletic catches, while tight end Antonio Gates is dependable on third-down plays. Offense The Bengals have one of the top 1-2 punches at the running back position. BenJarvus Green-Ellis is their dependable hammer who can run between the tackles and pick up first downs. Explosive Giovanni Bernard can jet to the outside and break long plays. Wide receiver A.J. Green had a special season, catching 98-1,426-11, while No. 2 receiver Marvin Jones had 10 TD catches.
The Chargers hustled and played hard on defense, but they had some gaffes in the fourth quarter of several games. That could be a problem against the explosive Bengals’ offense. Free safety Eric Weddle is an aggressive player who led the team with 115 tackles and 12 passes defensed. Defensive end Corey Liuget had 5.5 sacks and 42 tackles. Defense The Bengals played consistent defense all season despite losing All-Pro defensive tackle Geno Atkins early in the season. The Bengals ranked third in yards allowed, and it’s hard to find a more impressive player than linebacker Vontaze Burfict, who led the team with 171 tackles. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap had 7.5 sacks and forced four fumbles.
The Chargers did a solid job in punt and kickoff coverage this season, and they are hoping that Allen or speedy Eddie Royal can give them a big return in this game. Placekicker Nick Novak had a superb season, connecting on 34-of-37 FG attempts. Special Teams The Bengals gave up one punt return for a touchdown, but they were basically solid on special-teams coverage. Brandon Tate is a fast return man who can find the creases. Placekicker Mike Nugent had just 22 attempts this season, making 18 of them.

The winner is

(credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Cincinnati Bengals
3 out of 4

The Chargers are playing with house money as they made the playoffs in Mike McCoy’s first year as head coach. They should be able to play free and easy, while the pressure is squarely on the Bengals’ shoulders because they have not won a playoff game in the Marvin Lewis era.
-Steve Silverman, CBS Local Sports contributor

More Tales of the tape

  1. 451058894 Belgium v Russia: Group H - 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil
    Round Of 16 In 2014 World Cup: USA vs. Belgium

    The United States have advanced to the Round of 16 in back-to-back World Cup’s for the first time in history. After getting second place in Group G, USA will face Group H winner Belgium. Belgium, who is full of immensely talented players that play in EPL, is ranked 12th in the World heading into the tournament. Unlike the last two games for the Yanks, striker Jozy Altidore will be listed questionable for Tuesday’s game in Salvador, Brazil. Two of the world’s best keepers will go toe to toe at the Arena Fonte Nova stadium.

  2. (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Richard Heathcote) (Photo Credit: Getty Images/Warren Little)
    Tale Of The Tape: Winter Olympics In Sochi Vs. FIFA World Cup In Brazil

    With both sites having their share of issues in hosting major international sporting events, we went to the tape to decide who was the worst host of 2014.

  3. Cleveland Cavaliers v Atlanta Hawks LeBron James (Photo Credit: Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
    Tale Of The Tape: LeBron James Decision 1 Vs. Decision 2

    Let’s compare LeBron James’ first decision to leave the Cavs to his decision to opt out with the Heat.

See all Tales of the Tape