It’s understandable to pick the Bengals this Sunday. The Chargers almost lost to the B-squad Kansas City Chiefs in Week 17. Sure, it’s also understandable that the Bengals are 8-0 at home this season.
But the Chargers do not hear the national media. Rivers hasn’t given a thought about his image since he arrived in San Diego.
This season, no one picked the Chargers to win at the Denver Broncos and no one picked the Chargers to get the last playoff spot.
What the national media hasn’t realized from the last meeting between these two teams are missing pieces and key players. Moves like benching struggling cornerback Derek Cox, linebackers Melvin Ingram and Jarret Johnson coming back, Manti Te’o developing nicely and Ryan Mathews going for 1,000-plus yards through 16 games.
The perceived favoring toward the Bengals puts enormous pressure on the Bengals to win. It’s going to come down to Dalton overcoming his own shortcomings and Giovani Bernard to really step up and steer the Rookie of the Year conversation away from Keenan Allen.
Dalton hasn’t won a playoff game in his career. In his short time in the NFL, Dalton is 0-2 in the playoffs, whereas Philip Rivers is 3-4 in playoff chances. But Rivers doesn’t carry the same weight on his shoulders as Dalton.
That’s a scary problem for the Bengals.