Even at 5-6 the San Diego Chargers are within striking distance of a Wild Card berth, and need another victory over the visiting Cincinnati Bengals on Sunday afternoon at Qualcomm Stadium.
San Diego snapped a three-game losing streak by handing Kansas City its second straight loss, with quarterback Philip Rivers unloading 392 passing yards and three touchdowns and the Charger defense forcing two turnovers in the 41-28 win.
Fresh off a bye week the 7-4 Bengals hold more than a two game lead over Baltimore in the AFC North, but are looking up at Indianapolis for the No. 3 playoff seed.
Suffering two straight overtime losses, Cincinnati got back on track before the bye after blowing away Cleveland 41-20, generating four turnovers, including a blocked punt and fumble returned for touchdowns.
The Bengals are now third in the AFC with 15 interceptions, and face a quarterback in Rivers who’s thrown seven picks in San Diego losses. Still Rivers is tops in the NFL with a 70.8 percent completion rate, and fourth in yards with 3,381 yards.
Helping Rivers in the backfield is healthy running back Ryan Matthews and Danny Woodhead, a pair that’s combined for 987 yards and 10 total touchdowns. Woodhead has also made a minimum of four receptions in nine of San Diego’s last 10 games.
Rookie Charger receiver Keenan Allen has also become a force, recording his fourth 100-yard of the season against the Chiefs with nine receptions for 124 yards.
Cincinnati will roll out the NFL’s third leading receiver in A.J. Green. Now in his third year, Green has totaled 1,020 yards and six touchdowns off 67 receptions, and could wreak havoc on San Diego’s 28th ranked pass defense.
However Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has thrown eight of his 15 interceptions in the last three games. He’s now tied for third in the NFL in interceptions, and sixth in passing touchdowns with 21.
In terms of injuries the Bengals will miss a starting guard, while San Diego could miss one of its top pass rushers. Chargers linebacker Jarret Johnson was limited in practice with a hand injury this week, and is listed as questionable. Cincinnati has already ruled out guard Kevin Zeitler with a foot injury.
San Diego will also have to worry about safety Darrell Stuckey, who’s questionable with a concussion, and receiver Eddie Royal is questionable once again due to a toe injury.
Betting Odds: Cincinnati is favored by 1 point
Over/Under: 48.5 points
Time: Saturday, 4:25 p.m. ET
TV Channel: CBS
Online Stream Info: NFL Sunday Ticket
Prediction: San Diego 24, Cincinnati 17