Everyone knows that the matchup between the San Diego Chargers and the Cincinnati Bengals is a rematch of a December regular season game. The Chargers fly into Cincinnati with some of the coldest weather conditions in the country. Sunday’s going to be cold and will draw slight comparisons to the Freezer Bowl (1981 AFC Championship Game) where the Chargers and Bengals faced off in the coldest game ever played in NFL history.
The Chargers have less to prove to the world on Sunday, but here are several matchups that could decide the game.
- San Diego passing attack vs. Cincinnati pass defense
If Ryan Mathews and Danny Woodhead can’t combine to grind it out, look for screens to get the receivers involved. Expect Ladarius Green to make another cold weather appearance. Philip Rivers is 9-2 all-time in weather below 40 degrees. Advantage San Diego.
- San Diego run defense vs. Giovanni Bernard and BenJarvus Green-Ellis
The Cincinnati tandem bulldozed the Chargers during their last meeting for 164 yards and one touchdown. The Chargers’ key is having the front seven make plays and trust the shaky secondary. In Week 17, the Kansas City Chiefs backups ran over the San Diego defense. Advantage Cincinnati.
- San Diego pass defense vs. Andy Dalton
Dalton is a boom or bust kind of guy. This game implies more pressure for Dalton to win and have a perfect stat line. Dalton’s numbers were horrific throwing only 14 times for 190 yards and one touchdown. Still, he got the ball to AJ Green against a defense that didn’t put up any pressure. This is the key objective to winning the game for San Diego, so there’s no advantage until we see how Dalton decides to play.