San Diego Chargers at Cincinnati Bengals (-7, 45.5)
The Cincinnati Bengals were among three teams to compile an 8-0 record at home this season and look to keep that perfect mark intact when they host the San Diego Chargers on Sunday in the opening round of the NFL playoffs. The Bengals already won at San Diego 17-10 on Dec. 1 en route to capturing the AFC North title and reaching the playoffs for the third straight season. Cincinnati hopes the home-field edge can end a lengthy run of futility since its last postseason victory in January 1991.
Last month's loss appeared to KO San Diego's playoff hopes, but the Chargers rebounded to win their final four games, including a controversial overtime victory over Kansas City last week to snatch the final postseason slot. San Diego was held to a season-low point total and committed three turnovers in the first meeting and will have to contend with temperatures near freezing and a potential wintry mix. The only playoff matchup between the teams came in the 1982 AFC title game, when the Bengals prevailed in the "Freezer Bowl" that featured a wind chill of minus-59.
1:05 p.m. ET, CBS.
Cincy opened as a 7-point fave. The total opened 46 and is down to 45.5.WEATHER:
Temperatures will be in the mid-30s with a 100 percent chance of snow. Wind will blow across the field at 4 mph.
ABOUT THE CHARGERS (9-7):
Philip Rivers rebounded from a pair of turnover-riddled seasons to throw for 4,478 yards with 32 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while leading the leading in completion percentage (69.5). Rookie Keenan Allen emerged as a go-to receiver with 71 catches for 1,046 yards and five 100-yard games, including eight catches for 106 yards in the first matchup with the Bengals. Ryan Mathews rushed for a career-high 1,255 yards but did not practice Thursday due to an ankle injury, while backfield mate Danny Woodhead hauled in 76 passes, second among running backs in the NFL. The Chargers ranked 23rd in yards allowed per game (366.5) but they held Peyton Manning and Denver's top-ranked offense to two of their three lowest point totals.
ABOUT THE BENGALS (11-5):
The discrepancy in Cincinnati's performance at home versus on the road is stunning - the Bengals averaged 42 points and had a victory margin of 24 points over their last five home wins. Andy Dalton reached career highs in yards (4,296) and touchdowns (33), but he was also intercepted a career-worst 20 times, including four picks in last week's 34-17 victory over Baltimore. A.J. Green also established career highs with 98 catches for 1,426 while matching last season's total of 11 touchdown receptions to complement the running of BenJarvus Green-Ellis and rookie Giovani Bernard, who combined for 1,451 yards rushing. Cincinnati ranked fifth both against the run (96.5 yards) and pass (209) while limiting five opponents to 17 points or fewer at home.
* Over is 4-0-1 in the last five meetings in Cincinnati.
* Road team is 6-1 ATS in their last seven meetings.
* Bengals are 1-7 ATS in their last eight games in January.
* Chargers are 4-0 ATS in their last four road games vs. a team with a winning home record.EXTRA POINTS:
1. Cincinnati has won the past three meetings, including a 20-13 victory at San Diego in December 2012.
2. Rivers is 3-4 with eight TD passes and nine interceptions in seven postseason games.
3. The Bengals are 0-4 and have failed to score more than 17 points in four playoff appearances under Marvin Lewis.