Morning Bites (1/4): Bengals links and notes

Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Spor

Looking at the stories, previews and the predictions for Sunday's game against the San Diego Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals.

Matchup of the Game: Tez-Woodhead (reprise)
Vontaze Burfict gutted out an ankle injury a month ago when the Bengals beat the Chargers in San Diego. Since then he's been named to the Pro Bowl and won the NFL tackling title to complete his rags-to-riches run.

How businesses came through to sell out big game
In the end, the region's business community came through and helped sell out Sunday's Bengals-Chargers playoff game, ensuring that thousands of local fans can watch the game on television, and sparing the National Football League an embarrassing blackout.

Chargers say they're ready for any weather
Theoretically San Diego, where temperatures topped out at a sunny 74 degrees Thursday, would be concerned with entering cold, snowy weather conditions. Don't expect them to be.

Mesko enters the fray
Zoltan Mesko is no newcomer to the playoffs as a fifth-round draft pick of the Patriots in 2010.

4-8 inches of snow could affect Bengals game
Forget the Freezer Bowl. Say hello to the Snow Bowl. The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning that will be effect from 5 a.m. Sunday through 1 a.m. Monday. The storm is expected to dump between 4-8 inches of snow on Greater Cincinnati. Areas near downtown could get as much as 4 inches of new snow accumulation, while northern suburbs could be pounded with up to 8 inches.

Looking for a reverse
It looks like "The Curse of Bo" may be on the verge of being broken with the help of a son of Bo in Sunday's wild card game.

Former teammates Jones, Allen to face each other
Current Bengals wide receiver Marvin Jones recalls taking current San Diego wide receiver Keenan Allen under his wing when they were the top receivers at the University of California.

Versatility is hallmark of Bengals' O-line
Kevin Zeitler is an anomaly among Bengals offensive linemen – he's only played one spot this year, right guard, and as long as he can remember he's only played that one position. Always guard, always right of the center.

Can snow be added advantage for Bengals? - Cincinnati Bengals Blog - ESPN
About 1 p.m. ET on Thursday, just as the Cincinnati Bengals were escaping the windy, snowy conditions that blanketed the day's practice inside Paul Brown Stadium, temperature gauges across the city began dipping sharply into the low 20s.

2013 NFL playoffs -- John Clayton's First and Goal: Wild-card round
The Bengals haven't won a playoff game since the 1990 season, even though Marvin Lewis has the team in the playoffs for a third consecutive year. If they can't win Sunday, something must be wrong.

The Playbook: Previewing 49ers-Packers, Eagles-Saints, more NFL wild-card games
Cincinnati has scored more than 40 points in three of its last six games. Quarterback Andy Dalton is streaky and somewhat limited, but he has two outstanding targets in All-World receiver A.J. Green and second-year man Marvin Jones, who came out of nowhere this year to score 10 touchdowns. The problem for Dalton is he’s hardly been outstanding in the playoffs. In two first-round losses to the Houston Texans, the third-year quarterback put up a 48.6 passer rating, completing 41 passes in 72 attempts for 384 yards, no touchdowns and four picks.

NFL playoffs wild-card predictions: Eagles, 49ers, Colts, Bengals
Cincinnati 30, San Diego 20, at Paul Brown Stadium (Sunday). Andy Dalton’s weapons will make more plays than Philip Rivers’ weapons … assuming the sleety weather doesn’t neutralize every quick player’s speed.

NFL wild-card weekend picks: Eagles-Saints, more
The Chargers certainly appear to be the quintessential "dangerous team" in this year's AFC playoffs, having needed an improbable chain of events -- not to mention a little help from the officials last week against Kansas City -- to fall their way just to get back to the postseason for the first time since 2009. That gives Philip Rivers and Co. a playing-with-house-money feel, but if the Bengals are as good as I think they are, San Diego's karma won't matter. This is no-excuses time for Cincinnati, which has reached the playoffs five times in the Marvin Lewis coaching era, but is still waiting for its first postseason win. Unbeaten at home this season, the Bengals should have everything working in their favor. If they can't get over the hump and into the divisional round with this team, against this playoff opponent, then Cincinnati will rank as one of the underachievers of the year.

Bengals' biggest challenge comes from press box
Yep, it's been a long time since the Bengals last won a football game in the NFL's postseason. Not since Jan. 6, 1991, when Boomer Esiason & Co. beat the Houston Oilers 41-14 at Riverfront Stadium. The Bengals have lost five straight playoff games since then and haven't scored more than 17 points in any of the games.

Matchup to watch: Rivers vs. Bengals D - Stats & Info Blog
Philip Rivers and the San Diego Chargers head on the road to face the Cincinnati Bengals in a rematch of their Week 13 game in San Diego. Let’s take a look at the key matchup for this Sunday’s AFC Wild Card game.

Double Coverage: Chargers at Bengals
To break down Sunday's game, we turn to ESPN.com NFL reporters Eric D. Williams (Chargers) and Coley Harvey (Bengals).

Numbers Watch: Cincinnati Bengals-San Diego Chargers
Here are a few other numbers to consider ahead of this weekend's Bengals-Chargers game:

Rivers has been the Chargers' rock
Philip Rivers has at least one thing on Andy Dalton and the Bengals – he's won three playoff games in his career. But he's also lost four.

The Morning Line, 1/3. Mike Brown. Respond.
On Thursday, TML had his first one-on-one sitdown with the Bengals owner since October of 2000. In that session more than 13 years ago, Brown suggested I’d be happy if he jumped out the shiny new window of his extra large corner office at Paul Brown Stadium. Yesterday was somewhat more pleasant.

Been there, done that
In their first heavy day of preparation for Sunday's wild card game, the Bengals looked a little looser than the past two years.

Playoff duet
Marvin Jones and Keenan Allen, the Cal bookends, play with a chip on their shoulders, glue on their hands and a song in their heart when they meet in Sunday's wild card game.

Chargers-Bengals Wild Card Preview
Go inside the Chargers-Bengals matchup with a look at some key facts and figures for Sunday's game, including broadcast information, injury news, game notes, coaching history, weather information, a look inside the numbers, and a summary of the Game Day Entertainment.

Friday locker room quotes
Bengals players talk about Sunday's wild card playoff game.

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