The battle between the San Diego Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals on December 1, 2013 is one that has major playoff implications. The Bengals are in the midst of a very good season. They have firm control of the AFC North, and they want to keep that control and chase down a first-round bye in the playoffs if they can.
On the other hand, the Chargers will be desperate to win this game to keep their hopes of a playoff berth alive. They have no shot to win the AFC West. The Denver Broncos and Kansas City Chiefs have firm control of that division. However, the Chargers still have a chance to snag one of the two Wild Card berths in the playoffs. They will have to finish strong in order to do it, and they cannot afford to lose this game against the Bengals.
The Chargers are in a complete tailspin coming into this game. Unless they can somehow upset the Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City this week, the Chargers will be riding a four-game losing streak coming into this matchup with Cincinnati. Before they started this losing streak, the Chargers had a winning record. They have been competitive during this losing streak, but they just haven’t been able to get over the hump to snatch a victory in the games they have lost.
They have to take advantage of the fact that they are playing at home to try to turn around their season. If the Chargers lose this game to the Bengals, then their playoff dreams are all but crushed. It will not be an easy task against one of the better teams in the AFC in this Cincinnati squad.
Cincinnati has been one of the most powerful and popular squads in the league this year. They started out the season with lots of exposure as the featured team on HBO’s reality series “Hard Knocks.” The program followed the Bengals throughout training camp and the exhibition season, and it was clear to viewers that the Bengals would be a team to be reckoned with this year.
That has certainly been the case. The team has a defense that is among the best in football. They have only lost one game by more than three points this year, and even in that game their defense only gave up 17 points. Their defense will be in for a stern test against the Chargers, who feature the seventh best offense in the NFL.
Phillip Rivers has been having a stellar season, ranking in the top five highest-rated quarterback’s in the league. He has proven many doubters wrong who said he was all washed-up, and he will need to have a huge game in order for the Chargers to have a chance against that ferocious Bengals pass rush.
On the other side of the ball, the Bengals offense must prove that it can be something more than anemic if they want to make any noise in the playoffs this year. That starts with Andy Dalton, who has looked downright ugly at times this season. He has had some horrible turnovers during crunch time in the fourth quarter, and he needs to keep from turning the ball over in order for his team to win against the Chargers.
The rush game of the Bengals has been absolutely pathetic this year. They will have to exploit a weaker San Diego defense to find their way to victory in San Diego. It should be a good matchup that is close throughout the game, and both teams will surely give their all due to the game’s postseason implications.
Susan writes for various sports blogs and loves her NFL.