Predictions & Projections
David Dorey
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Wildcard Kansas City at Indianapolis 4:35 PM EST San Diego at Cincinnati 1:05 PM EST
*UPDATED  New Orleans at Philadelphia 8:10 PM EST San Francisco at Green Bay 4:40 PM EST

Prediction: SD 16, CIN 27 (Line: CIN by 7)

The 9-7 Chargers squeaked into the playoffs by the thinnest of margins are were 4-4 in road games. The 11-5 Bengals won the AFC North by three games and have a perfect 8-0 home record. This is a rematch of week 13 when the Bengals won 17-10 in San Diego.

1 HOU 28-31 10 DEN 20-28
2 @PHI 33-30 11 @MIA 16-20
3 @TEN 17-20 12 @KC 41-38
4 DAL 30-21 13 CIN 10-17
5 @OAK 17-27 14 NYG 37-14
6 IND 19-9 15 @DEN 27-20
7 @JAC 24-6 16 OAK 26-13
8 BYE WEEK 17 KC 27-24
9 @WAS 24-30 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
Rush Catch Pass
QB Philip Rivers - - 260,1
RB Danny Woodhead 20 2-25 -
RB Ryan Mathews 50 4-30 -
TE Antonio Gates - 4-35 -
TE Ladarius Green - 2-30  
WR Keenan Allen   6-85,1  
WR Vincent Brown - 3-30 -
WR Eddie Royal - 2-20 -
PK Nick Novak 3 FG 1 XP -

Pregame Notes: Doesn't matter how you get there, just gotta get there. The Chargers played against the Chiefs who were sitting 22 different players and by all right should have lost. Ryan Succop missed a 41-yard field goal wide right to allow the game to go into overtime where the Chargers won on their own field goal. Not only was the missed field goal a shock, but the Chargers should have been called for having seven men on one side of the field goal attempt and should have been penalized. That would have allowed the Chiefs to retry the kick from 36-yards out.

The Chargers end the season with a four game winning streak and their last loss was to these Bengals only it was in San Diego and not Cincinnati. Philip Rivers threw for a score in every game this year but only managed one touchdown versus the Bengals along with 252 yards and one interception.

The Bengals at home were far better against the pass than on the road and allowed just nine passing touchdowns to visitors. Only the Colts managed to throw for more than one score or 250 yards.

The Bengals against the run have been outstanding overall and even better when at home where they allowed just one rushing touchdown all year and only once did a runner top 69 yards - both the product of Johnathan Franklin of the Packers who broke a 51-yard run. Otherwise this has been one of the worst places for a running back. In week 13, Danny Woodhead ran for 22 yards on seven carries and caught two passes for 13 yards in Cincy. Ryan Mathews totaled 61 yards on 14 carries and five receptions for 31 yards.

Keenan Allen enjoyed a big game with eight catches for 106 yards versus the Bengals but the only other wideout catch was made by Vincent Brown. Just one. Antonio Gates ended with five receptions for 41 yards and a fumble lost. Ladarius Green only caught two passes for 45 yards but scored the only touchdown in that game.

An oddity is that the Bengals allowed six touchdowns to tight ends and zero to any visiting tight ends. This is a top secondary that is doubly better when at home. The Chargers were weaker against wideouts with nine touchdowns allowed but the yardage was low for almost all. Only Josh Gordon and Da'Rick Rogers managed to top 100 yards in Cincinnati.

The early weather forecast for this game is for around 32 degrees and a chance of rain or snow.

Gaining Fantasy Points SD 8 5 20 4 3 31
Preventing Fantasy Points CIN 7 5 10 7 11 16


1 @CHI 21-24 10 @BAL 17-20
2 PIT 20-10 11 CLE 41-20
3 GB 34-30 12 BYE WEEK
4 @CLE 6-17 13 @SD 17-10
5 NE 13-6 14 IND 42-28
6 @BUF 27-24 15 @PIT 20-30
7 @DET 27-24 16 MIN 42-14
8 NYJ 49-9 17 BAL 34-17
9 @MIA 20-22 ----- ----- -----
News | Statistics | Roster
Rush Catch Pass
QB Andy Dalton - - 280,2
RB B. Green-Ellis 70,1 - -
RB Giovani Bernard 40 5-45 -
TE J. Gresham - 2-20 -
TE Tyler Eifert - 2-15 -
WR A.J. Green - 6-100,1 -
WR Marvin Jones - 5-65,1 -
WR Mohamed Sanu - 3-20 -
PK Mike Nugent 2 FG 3 XP -

Pregame Notes: The Bengals won five of their last six games and the offense was scoring more and the defense allowing less. The Bengals are hitting the post-season at a nice time since this is as close to peaking that they have been this year. Playing at home also makes a major difference since they are still undefeated there. The Bengals took down the Chargers a month ago and held them to only ten points. One mitigating factor there was the Chargers had just won an emotional game in Kansas City and came out pretty flat against the Bengals. But this is played at home and that is just a major advantage this year.

Andy Dalton ended the regular season on a hot streak with 19 touchdowns scored over the final seven weeks but the only time he passed for just one was against the Chargers. Dalton was always less productive in road games though and scored 14 times over the final four home games. He threw for only 190 yards in San Diego because his 23 pass attempts was a season low.

The Chargers final two road games were in Kansas City and Denver where they allowed three and two touchdowns respectively along with around 290 yards in each. Dalton was consistently good for 270+ yards when at home.

The Bengals passed little in that first meeting because they had BenJarvus Green-Ellis rush for 92 yards and a score on 20 carries. Giovani Bernard ran for 57 yards on 14 attempts as well with just one catch for nine yards. That was a season low for catches though and Bernard turned in at least 40 receiving yards in each of the last four games.

The Chargers were only average against the run and not even that when on the road. Their last four away games allowed seven rushing touchdowns and two 100 rushing yard efforts against them,

A.J. Green comes off a banner regular season with 11 touchdowns and six 100 yard games. Though the passing was minimal in San Diego, Green still ended with five receptions for 83 yards and a touchdown. Marvin Jones scored ten times but in San Diego only caught two passes for 12 yards. Mohamed Sanu had one catch which was pretty normal anyway. The Chargers were weak against wide receivers this year and on the road gave up nine touchdowns to the position along with four monster yardage games.

There was only one completion to a tight end in San Diego but Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert combined for six touchdowns. They posted marginal yardage each week though and were below fantasy relevance.

The Chargers defense can surprise and rise up unexpectantly though they can sometimes surprise by playing badly. This should be a sold win for the Bengals at home and is the most favored game of the Wildcard round.

Gaining Fantasy Points CIN 5 17 5 11 24 4
Preventing Fantasy Points SD 23 14 27 8 8 8

Wildcard Kansas City at Indianapolis 4:35 PM EST San Diego at Cincinnati 1:05 PM EST
*UPDATED  New Orleans at Philadelphia 8:10 PM EST San Francisco at Green Bay 4:40 PM EST

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