5 Reasons The San Diego Chargers Will Defeat The Cincinnati Bengals
5 Reasons The San Diego Chargers Will Prevail Over The Cincinnati Bengals
After a wild year of football, the San Diego Chargers fought their way into the NFL playoffs for the first time since the 2009 season. Prior to the start of the season, many believed that the Chargers were just going to be another average team who fell short of making it into the postseason. Most of the doubt came after big changes in the offseason - including the firing of head coach Norv Turner and General Manager A.J. Smith. The Bolts brought in rookie head coach Mike McCoy as Turner's replacement and Tom Telesco as the new GM.
The new changes came with a lot of new questions and fresh doubt. The only people not panicking were the Chargers organization. They remained confident in their reaching their goals, starting with the retooling of their franchise quarterback Philip Rivers. Rivers started the year off in the right gear and continued to accelerate. He shed all of the doubt about his passing ability, en route to one of the best seasons of his career.
The Chargers still have a lot of work to do. They have been dealing with key injuries all year on both sides of the ball. Dwight Freeney went down early and was lost for the year. It was the same story for Danario Alexander and Malcom Flyod - two of the team's best wide receivers. Through all of the adversity, the Bolts shined bright, even though they hit a few rough patches during the 2013 season. In the end, this team fought their way into the playoffs, overcoming the slimmest odds possible. Now, many are saying that they are the worst team in the playoffs and they will lose their matchup on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. In this post, I am giving the doubters five reasons will the Chargers will prove you wrong and walk away with an upset victory on Wild-Card Weekend.
5. Marvin Lewis
Marvin Lewis is a great coach, but he is currently 0-4 in the playoffs. Most would say that this is his easiest matchup yet, but they are obviously underestimating the Chargers' chances to win this game.
4. Eric Weddle's Playmaking Ability
One player does not normally make a big difference in a playoff game, but we are talking about more than just any player. We are talking about one of the best safeties in the NFL -- Eric Weddle. Weddle is a major playmaker, and his coverage over the top on A.J. Green will prove to be a key factor on Sunday. Depending on how well Weddle does over the top, the Bengals could either excel at passing the ball or struggle mightily. Weddle is that good, and the Chargers' cornerback play has been rather bad. Weddle knows that he will be needed in a big way if his team is going to walk away with the upset victory. Expect big things from the pro-bowler.
3. Quarterback Pressure
Everyone knows that the Chargers are not really a top team in the NFL when it comes to getting to the quarterback. That will make it even more surprising when their defense steps up on Sunday, making it hard for Andy Dalton to get comfortable on his home field. This team only has 35 sacks as a team, but they are better than you would imagine at getting pressure. Pressure on the quarterback does not always lead to sacks, but it does disrupt the flow of the offense. The Bolts know the Bengals may be underestimating their pass-rush, so they will be more than ready to get in there and cause some havoc.
2. San Diego Chargers' Running Back Duo
Philip Rivers is not the only Charger that has found his way in 2013. Ryan Mathews has amassed over 1,200 yards and six touchdowns in the ground this season. He is averaging 4.4 yards per carry while running harder than ever. It is easy to see how good he has become compared to his earlier years. His backup, Danny Woodhead, will also be a problem for the Bengals. His speed and swiftness creates tons of matchup problems for opposing defenses week in and week out. The Bengals will have to pick their poison and both are capable of being lethal.
1. Quarterback Matchup
An NFL game usually comes down to one thing, the quarterback matchup. Both Rivers and Dalton are prime NFL talents, but I would give Rivers more than a slight edge due to his experience and throwing accuracy. Dalton has more targets, but Rivers is a master at making the most out of whatever he has. You can credit Rivers for the emergence of rookie sensation Keenan Allen and the surprising production seen from Woodhead this season. Rivers and his guys will be hard to handle, and they will be able to run up the score on the Bengals' defense, no matter how good they are. Rivers will outshine Dalton, putting his team in the perfect position to win their first playoff game in a few years.