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Chargers Roll Over the Bengals, Games Set for this Weekend

On Sunday amid cold, rainy conditions, the San Diego Chargers persevered and defeated the Cincinnati Bengals 27-10. This represented their fifth straight win and now they’ll head to Denver this weekend to take on the Denver Broncos.

Once again Chargers quarterback Phillip Rivers looked like a top quarterback in the league, going 12 for 16, 128 yards and one touchdown as he relied on the running game to get the win. Running back Ronnie Brown led with eight carries for 77 yards and one touchdown while fellow back Ryan Mathews, battling an ankle injury, had 13 carries for 52 yards.

For the day, the Chargers had 40 carries for 196 yards in their ground game.

Phillip Rivers

Phillip Rivers

Knowing the Broncos are next, who they previously beat on Dec.12, 27-20, Rivers said of their impending game via the Associated Press, “We will be confident. We’ve got to be careful we’re not overconfident, which we won’t be. Cincinnati came to our place and won five weeks ago.”

But will the Chargers go all the way? They sit at 14/1 to win the 2014 Super Bowl.

Unfortunately for the Bengals, Bad Andy Dalton showed up on Sunday. He had three turnvovers in the second half and looked out of sorts against the Chargers’ defense. At one point in the regular season, this group sat at the bottom on the league but in the last six games, have only allowed 16 points. They harassed Dalton into going 29 for 51, 334 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions.

With Sunday’s loss, the Bengals will continue their streak of not winning a playoff game, extending it to 23 years–the league’s sixth longest one. Coach Marvin Lewis has fallen to an 0-5 postseason record with three losses coming under Dalton. You can’t help but ask if Dalton’s future is questionable and whether he’ll be the Bengals’ starter in 2014 as his numbers paint an inconsistent, disappointing picture.

Andy Dalton

Andy Dalton

After the game, Lewis said, “I don’t have any questions about Andy’s role. A tough day.”

As for other potential changes coming the Bengals’ way, offensive coordinator Jay Gruden and defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer can now interview for other NFL jobs. The Washington Redskins and the Detroit Lions have openings and NBC Sports opined Gruden could be the one to go; however, you wonder if his coaching is part of the Dalton problem.

Meanwhile, Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt is a hot candidate for the Lions head coaching job but teams can’t speak to him yet. Last week the Lions interviewed former Indianapolis Colts head coach/current Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell.

Should Whisenhunt jump ship, CBSSports is reporting that his spot could be filled internally by quarterbacks coach Frank Reich.

In other AFC News…

With Wild-Card Weekend in the books, this weekend’s schedule is set.

The Chargers will play the Broncos on Sunday at 4:40 p.m. ET. The Broncos had this week off and well, it may not be the best thing.

Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning

According to ESPN, from the last eight seasons, six of the Super Bowl winners did play on the first wild-card weekend; this includes the last three winners.

As the new weeks starts, the top three to win the 2014 Super Bowl per Vegas, (the Seattle Seahawks 12/5, the Broncos 13/5 and the San Francisco 49ers 11/2), only one played this weekend, the 49ers.

But for now, it looks like a week of rest will prove to be a good thing as the Broncos snap the Chargers’ win streak (-9.5, 54.5 o/u).

In the AFC’s second game, theIndianapolis Colts will play the New England Patriots on Saturday at 8:15 p.m. ET. The Colts had an amazing comeback win while the Patriots had the week off. This sit at 15/2 to win the 2014 Super Bowl but one game at a time.

The Patriots get the win this week (-7, 53 o/u).


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