|AFC Wild Card Playoffs|
|Last 3 Games||3-0||+4.1||2-1||1-2||26.7||13.7||362.0||(5.5)||1.3||19.0||13.7||297.3||(5.2)||1.0|
|Offense (All Games)||24.7||12.1||23.3||33:35||30-123||(4)||24-34||69.5%||270||(7.9)||64-393||(6.1)||(15.9)|
|Opponents Defensive Avg.||24.6||12.2||20.6||31:31||28-114||(4.1)||22-36||61.4%||246||(6.8)||64-360||(5.6)||(14.6)|
|Offense Road Games||24.9||11.0||25.1||33:01||29-115||(4)||25-36||71.6%||303||(8.5)||64-418||(6.5)||(16.8)|
|Defense (All Games)||21.7||10.9||20.4||27:31||24-107||(4.5)||23-34||66.4%||259||(7.6)||58-366||(6.3)||(16.8)|
|Opponents Offensive Avg.||24.6||12.5||20.3||30:57||27-114||(4.3)||22-36||61.2%||243||(6.7)||63-357||(5.7)||(14.5)|
|Defense Road Games||23.9||10.1||21.6||27:44||23-111||(4.9)||23-35||66.3%||283||(8.1)||58-393||(6.8)||(16.5)|
|Stats For (All Games)||0.7||0.6||1.3||-0.2||13-6||49.0%||0-0||83.3%||2-44||(22.1)||1-10||(7.5)||6-48|
|Opponents Avg. Stats Against||1||0.7||1.7||2.1||14-5||38.2%||1-0||46.1%||2-58||(23.8)||23-2||(10)||6-50|
|Stats For (Road Games)||0.7||0.6||1.4||-0.6||12-5||46.8%||0-0||66.7%||2-59||(23.6)||1-13||(8.8)||6-55|
|Stats Against (All Games)||0.7||0.4||1.1|| ||11-4||38.9%||1-0||46.2%||5-112||(24.6)||1-10||(8.3)||6-53|
|Opponents Avg. Stats For||1.1||0.6||1.7|| ||13-5||37.7%||1-0||49.2%||3-68||(24.2)||20-2||(8.8)||6-53|
|Stats Against (Road Games)||0.6||0.1||0.7|| ||12-5||39.8%||1-0||50.0%||5-114||(24.6)||1-6||(5.7)||7-63|
|Last 3 Games||2-1||+0.7||2-1||3-0||32.0||17.3||366.7||(5.3)||2.0||20.3||13.3||240.3||(4.3)||2.7|
|Offense (All Games)||26.9||13.1||20.6||32:50||30-110||(3.6)||23-37||62.0%||259||(7.1)||67-368||(5.5)||(13.7)|
|Opponents Defensive Avg.||24.1||11.8||19.9||30:28||28-117||(4.2)||21-36||59.7%||236||(6.6)||63-353||(5.6)||(14.7)|
|Offense Home Games||34.4||18.1||20.6||32:56||32-113||(3.5)||21-33||63.7%||252||(7.6)||65-365||(5.6)||(10.6)|
|Defense (All Games)||19.1||9.9||17.6||28:48||24-96||(4)||23-38||59.0%||209||(5.4)||62-305||(4.9)||(16)|
|Opponents Offensive Avg.||22.9||10.7||19.9||30:13||27-108||(4.1)||22-37||60.4%||241||(6.5)||64-349||(5.5)||(15.3)|
|Defense Home Games||16.7||7.6||16.7||27:03||19-91||(4.9)||23-42||55.7%||198||(4.8)||60-289||(4.8)||(17.3)|
|Stats For (All Games)||1.2||0.6||1.9||0.1||14-6||40.9%||1-1||57.1%||2-61||(24.5)||3-26||(9)||6-62|
|Opponents Avg. Stats Against||0.9||0.5||1.4||1.8||14-5||38.9%||1-0||50.0%||3-64||(23.4)||21-2||(9.6)||6-55|
|Stats For (Home Games)||1.1||0.6||1.7||0.9||13-6||42.1%||1-0||50.0%||2-60||(26.9)||3-30||(9.2)||7-61|
|Stats Against (All Games)||1.2||0.7||1.9|| ||14-5||32.9%||1-0||31.2%||3-76||(23.4)||2-16||(9.4)||4-43|
|Opponents Avg. Stats For||1||0.6||1.6|| ||14-5||38.2%||1-0||45.8%||3-63||(23.3)||23-2||(11.2)||6-49|
|Stats Against (Home Games)||1.9||0.7||2.6|| ||13-3||23.1%||1-0||9.1%||4-102||(23.3)||2-17||(10)||4-42|
|Average power rating of opponents played: SAN DIEGO 18.2, CINCINNATI 19.3|
|11/24/2013||@ KANSAS CITY||41-38||W||3||W||43||O||27-104||27-39-387||0||18-114||26-38-281||2|
|1/5/2014||@ CINCINNATI|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|12/1/2013||@ SAN DIEGO||17-10||W||-2.5||W||48.5||U||38-164||14-23-190||2||24-91||23-37-243||3|
|1/5/2014||SAN DIEGO|| || || || || || || || || || || || |
|SAN DIEGO: New head coach Mike McCoy oversaw more of a one-cut running scheme in Denver, but he'll probably adapt to the power personnel he has. He rotated a stable of backs with the Broncos, and it looks like a similar situation in San Diego. The perennially disappointing Ryan Mathews will take the bulk of the early down reps, but he'll be spelled early and often. Danny Woodhead will take most passing downs and get some take-what-they-give-you runs when teams send out extra defensive backs. Ronnie Brown's only real value is as a pass protector, and Le'Ron McClain will be primarily a lead blocker again.
McCoy and new offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt both have a background based more in the vertical passing game, so the Chargers air attack shouldn't change much. Philip Rivers is at his best getting the ball deep up the seam, and Danario Alexander and Malcom Floyd should continue to see a lot of work there. McCoy plans on being more creative with Antonio Gates, who will continue to line up in a number of spots as a flex tight end. They will likely use either Eddie Royal or rookie Keenan Allen in the slot, though Rivers doesn't use slot receivers much. McCoy and Whisenhunt historically like to keep the ball on the ground in the red zone, and Mathews should get goal-line carries.
The Chargers had seven defensive touchdowns last year, but in effort to generate more pressure (two sacks or less in 11 games in 2012), DE Dwight Freeney (107.5 career sacks) was signed. Bigger sack numbers are also expected from third-year pro DE Corey Liuget (7 sacks). But having the NFL's second-easiest schedule, plus adding shutdown CB Derek Cox and rookie LB Manti Te'o to incumbent standouts FS Eric Weddle and ILB Donald Butler makes defensive coordinator John Pagano's 3-4 scheme one to respect.|
|CINCINNATI: The Bengals have grown into offensive coordinator Jay Gruden's zone-blocking scheme nicely. Their offensive line, one of the NFL's best, should continue to improve this season. BenJarvus Green-Ellis should continue to take the majority of the work on first and second down. Rookie Giovani Bernard will be a change-of-pace and passing down back, although he could end up sharing that role with fellow rookie Rex Burkhead, who's considered to be more advanced in pass protection.
Gruden runs a West Coast offense, but it's a passing game that attacks downfield much more aggressively than most WCOs. Andy Dalton is a shaky decision maker with accuracy that comes and goes, but his willingness to let A.J. Green make plays in traffic is what makes this offense go. Green does most of his work on the perimeter and deep. The second read is usually slot receiver Andrew Hawkins, and they run some designed plays to get TE Jermaine Gresham the ball. Their No. 2 receiver is rarely used, and Bernard figures to be the only back that does more than pass protect. The Bengals were balanced in the red zone last year, including a 50/50 run/pass split in goal-to-go situations.
This underrated defense placed sixth in the NFL in total defense (320 YPG allowed) and ranked third in the league with 51 sacks, thanks to DT Geno Atkins (12.5 sacks) and DE Michael Johnson (11.5 sacks). In the second half of 2012, the Bengals allowed a paltry 12.8 PPG with 19 forced turnovers and three defensive touchdowns. New OLB James Harrison is familiar with AFC North opponents, and will help groom young LBs Vontaze Burfict and Rey Maualuga. The strong front seven allows the secondary to go after the football, collecting nearly as many INT (14) as TD passes allowed (16) last year.|
|~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ PA SPORTSTICKER PRO FOOTBALL PREVIEW (SAN DIEGO-CINCINNATI) ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
*Chargers-Bengals Preview* ==========================
Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers are back in the postseason after a three-year drought.
That pales in comparison to the Cincinnati Bengals' wait for a playoff victory.
The AFC North champion Bengals seek to end their 23-year drought without a postseason win Sunday when they host the surging Chargers.
San Diego (9-7) won four straight West titles between 2006-09, going 3-4 in the playoffs with Rivers in those years. The Chargers finished second each of the three previous seasons to miss the playoffs, but four straight victories to close the regular season for a third-place finish was good enough in 2013 to finally return.
"It's been a real long time so it feels great to be back in," said Rivers, who led the NFL in completion percentage at a career-best 69.5 percent.
It must feel like an eternity, meanwhile, for Bengals fans to see their team taste playoff success. A loss Sunday would extend Cincinnati's drought to 24 years - which would mark the sixth-longest such streak in NFL history.
The Bengals (11-5) will be making their fourth playoff appearance in five seasons and third in as many seasons with Andy Dalton at quarterback. Dalton hasn't been up to par in losses to Houston in each of the last two postseasons, throwing four interceptions with no touchdowns while getting sacked six times.
More is expected now that Dalton finished third in the league with 33 touchdown passes - one more than Rivers. There are still concerns about his play after last Sunday's 34-17 win over Baltimore in which he threw for 281 yards and two scores but was also picked off a career-worst four times.
"People can keep saying whatever they want because we haven't won a playoff game," Dalton said. "You've got to win. That's what it comes down to. And for us to get where we want to go, we need to win. That's the way it works. For me, we need to get a win in this one."
The onus is also on coach Marvin Lewis, now 0-4 in the postseason in 11 seasons with Cincinnati. He had an easy answer on what it will take to prove that he can win in the playoffs.
"We've just got to go play," Lewis said. "We're not going to get any of you to shut up about it until we win."
Lewis' counterpart will be San Diego's Mike McCoy, one of three coaches in his first season with his club in this postseason along with Philadelphia's Chip Kelly and Kansas City's Andy Reid. The former Denver offensive coordinator is credited with helping Rivers turn in a stellar season.
Rivers threw for nine touchdowns and 845 yards with a 109.8 passer rating over the Chargers' four-game win streak to close the regular season. That run culminated with last Sunday's wild 27-24 overtime home win over the Chiefs, who missed a field goal at the end of regulation that would have eliminated San Diego.
"We've been on a playoff run for the last month really, to be honest with you," McCoy said. "We were 5-7, no one gave us the chance. And we just said, 'Listen, just take care of the next opponent and see what happens.' It's going to be the same thing this week."
McCoy unwittingly gave Lewis a tool to motivate the Bengals. In his post-game speech to the team, McCoy said that San Diego 'owed the Bengals' - a reference to a 17-10 home loss to Cincinnati on Dec. 1. Several Chargers were also heard saying the famed Bengals chant 'Who Dey' in the background, and Lewis showed the clip to his club.
That Dec. 1 defeat preceded San Diego's winning streak. Rivers was held to a season-low 80.0 passer rating as the Chargers turned the ball over three times and posted their lowest point total.
"I want to be very respectful because they had a lot to do with it," Rivers said. "They caused the turnovers and they covered us. Some of it may not have been the best throw. They certainly were out there causing us to not get in the end zone and our execution wasn't great. We've got to execute better."
Dalton managed only 190 yards passing with one touchdown and one interception in that game although he improved to 2-0 against San Diego along with a 20-13 road victory a season ago in which Rivers was sacked four times.
This rematch figures to be tougher for the warm-weather Chargers since the Bengals are 8-0 at home, where they have amassed 24 sacks while limiting opposing quarterbacks to a 60.6 rating with nine touchdowns to 15 interceptions. Super Bowl champions Ben Roethlisberger, Tom Brady, Joe Flacco and Aaron Rodgers all failed to win in Cincinnati this year.
"They have to come here to 'The Jungle' and deal with our weather and our fans," Bengals defensive end Wallace Gilberry said. "We'll see if we get the best out of them."
The only previous postseason meeting between these clubs was a memorable one. Cincinnati won 27-7 over a Dan Fouts-led San Diego team in the AFC championship game in 1982 in one of the coldest games in NFL history.
McCoy wouldn't address the situation involving linebacker Thomas Keiser, who was arrested after a fight at barleymash, a San Diego bar and restaurant, several hours after Sunday's win.
|Last Updated: 9/2/2014 3:59:12 PM EST|