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NFL San Diego Chargers

San Diego Chargers Playing Cinderella Role in 2014 NFL Playoffs vs. Cincinnati Bengals

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

The San Diego Chargers are in the playoffs and meeting a Cincinnati Bengals squad they haven’t beaten at Paul Brown Stadium since 2006. That last game ended in a high-scoring affair (49-41) and featured a heavy dose of Philip Rivers and LaDainian Tomlinson.

Since then, the Chargers are 1-3 against the Bengals, including their previous matchup at Qualcomm Stadium.

In that last meeting, Andy Dalton and the Bengals beat the Chargers with big plays. However, his four-interception game against the Baltimore Ravens deflates his nickname from the “Red Rifle” to the “Red Nerf Gun.” The Chargers are thankful Dalton overcame his mistakes to knock the Ravens out, but all is forgotten come Sunday. The Chargers’ new hope then is silencing a stadium looking for their first playoff victory since the Boomer Esiason era.

Winning at Cincinnati in January is no easy task, but the Chargers must win on the road to advance.

If the Chargers advance to the next round they would meet the Denver Broncos again at Denver. Then if there are more games for the Chargers, take your pick of hostile environments to play in: Indianapolis, Kansas City, or Foxboro.

This Chargers team has defied the odds that everyone (including myself) stacked against them. Don’t forget the Chargers enjoy playing with a chip on their shoulder.

High seeding? Rivers doesn’t care for it as he’s never faring well with higher seeding. Examples: 2009 Divisional Game loss against the New York Jets and the 2006 Divisional Game loss against the New England Patriots.

San Diego might not have the wow-factor like Denver or New England, but they are the Cinderella team with nothing to lose. How far the Chargers go will be decided in Cincinnati, and even then only the Chargers will know when midnight strikes there or in New York hoisting the Lombardi trophy.

That’s why you really have to watch out for these Chargers.

Erwin Mendoza is a San Diego Chargers writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @erwinsports, or add him to your network on Google.