The Cincinnati Bengals finally seemed to find the recipe for a win in week 11 of the 2013 NFL season as their defense anchored them in a big win over the Cleveland Browns to move their record to 7-4. That win came off of two consecutive overtime losses and was much needed for the Bengals’ playoff chances.
After waiting through their bye in week 12, the Bengals will now be up against the San Diego Chargers in week 13 and will be looking to extend their lead in the division and further prove that they are a legitimate playoff team as opposed to a pretender. Once again, that will likely mean that their defense needs to come up big.
For the season, the Bengals defense has lived up to the hype and has even survived injuries to key players like Geno Atkins and Ray Maualuga. So far this year, the Bengals rank sixth against the pass as they allow just 211.1 yards per game through the air and 10th against the run, surrendering just 102 yards per game to their opponents.
However, this Bengals team can’t take the Chargers or San Diego quarterback Phillip Rivers lightly. Coming into this season, Rivers’ stock was probably the lowest that it’s been throughout his career. He has redeemed himself, though, as he’s led the Chargers to having the fourth best passing offense in the NFL in terms of yards per game.
This Chargers team is full of weapons that can cause opponents like Keenan Allen, Eddie Royal, Danny Woodhead and old reliable Antonio Gates. They may be just 5-6 on the season, but that’s largely due to their defensive shortcomings. This Chargers team can move the ball down the field and Rivers has been pretty great this season. If the Bengals don’t respect that, they could wind up only raising more questions about their team’s legitimacy come Sunday.