Bengals vs. Chargers: What to Watch For

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Special Teams:

Kickoff Returns: Chargers – 23rd (22.1 avg); Bengals – 5th (25.1 avg)

Punt Returns: Chargers – 25th (7.5 avg); Bengals – 15th (9.0 avg)

Kickers: Nick Novak is one of the better kickers in the league (9th) and is 34/37 (91.9%). Mike Nugent is an uninspiring 18/22 (81.8%).

Punters: Chargers – 20th (40.3 Net); Bengals – 15th (41.0 Net); Punts inside the 20: Chargers 1st (53.5%); Bengals 13th (36.0%).

Kick Coverage: Chargers – 24th (24.6 avg); Bengals 18th (23.4 avg)

Punt Coverage: Chargers – 12th (8.3 avg); Bengals – 21st (9.4 avg)

Advantage: Push

Coaches:

In the regular season game, I gave Marvin the advantage. I just can’t do the same in the playoffs. McCoy may be a rookie coach and never coached in the playoffs, but I would argue at 0-4, Marvin has never coached in the playoffs either and continues to look like a rookie on the sidelines in playoff games.

While Marvin has the experience, I am not sure it is too his advantage here. The 0-4 record has to weigh heavy on Marvin’s mind and will make him feel a lot more pressure than McCoy.

On top of that, Marvin’s team entered the season with possible Super Bowl expectations and disappointing would not begin to describe the feeling of a loss in this game. McCoy and the Chargers were not picked my many (if any) to even sniff the playoffs, so they have to feel like they are playing with house money.

Having an experienced QB who is completing 70% of his passes feeling as though he is playing with house money has to be advantageous for McCoy. Until Marvin wins a playoff game, I can’t give him the advantage in January.

However, I am also not going to give the advantage to a 9-7 rookie head coach either.

Advantage: Push

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