Bengals vs. Chargers: What to Watch For

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Jan 5, 2013; Houston, TX, USA; Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton (14) walks off the field after a game against the Houston Texans in the AFC Wild Card playoff game at Reliant Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Key to the Game:

Andy Dalton. If the “Good” Andy shows up and protects the ball, the Bengals should be able to walk all over the Chargers. However, if the “Bad” Andy shows up – the one with 24 turnovers – the Bengals can be beaten by anyone, including the Chargers in Cincinnati.

In his short career, Dalton has been impressive leading the Bengals to the playoffs each year, but he has been terrible one there. In the playoffs Dalton is 0-2, 0 TDs, 4 INTs, 56.9% completion, 48.6 rating, 5.33 YPA and 192 YPG.

Those numbers came on the road against the 2nd and 7th ranked Texans defense, and while Dalton faces a much softer Chargers defense at home on Sunday (28th), a similar performance will result in another short playoff stay for the Bengals.

Prediction:

No team, no coach and no QB need a victory more than the Bengals, Lewis and Dalton respectively. Dalton has heard the criticism of his playoff play for 2 years now and I think he responds. I think the “Good” Andy shows up on Sunday and the Bengals finally breakthrough in a big way for their first playoff victory since 1991.

Bengals 31, Chargers 17

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