What can't happen in Sunday's playoff game against the Chargers

I take a look at what would be bad for the Bengals if it happened in the home playoff game on Sunday.

The Chargers have momentum (in their eyes), they play well on the road and they think they owe Cincinnati. While I am convinced that the Bengals are the better team, there is a reason they play the games. Here are some things that can't happen if the Bengals want to win their first playoff game in 20 years.

The Bengals need to start fast. This doesn't mean they need to score on their first three drives, it just means they need to come out loose and not give up any back breaking plays like when they played the Steelers. The worst thing that could happen would be for the Bengals to make early mistakes and feed into the Chargers thinly veiled feeling of momentum.

(really, what is your momentum when you barely beat Kansas City's second string in overtime to back your way into the playoffs?)

SB Nation 2014 NFL Playoff Coverage

The Chargers lead the league in 10+ play drives. They attempt to control the clock to keep their terrible defense off the field. Falling behind and then having your offense on the sideline is a recipe for disaster. If the Bengals spot the Chargers points in the beginning of the game this could snowball into something none of us want to see.

Jay Gruden needs to remember what got the Bengals here. In the last two Wild Card games, A.J. Green has combined to catch 10 passes for 127 yards and zero touchdowns. Part of that was by design which has to be one of the dumbest strategies ever. Get Green involved and allow the playmakers to make plays.

Andy Dalton needs to not be tight. I need to warn everyone, he may throw an interception. It is not the end of the world. He tossed 4 last week and the Bengals still dominated a team fighting for their chance to make the postseason. In the post season Dalton has completed 41 of 72 passes for 384 yards, no touchdowns, four interceptions and a passer rating of 48.6. This can't continue on Sunday.

Speaking of tight, I remember countless dropped balls from Jermaine Gresham and other Bengal wideouts. The players need to relax and play the way they won the AFC North. Don't force things (interceptions, fumbles) and take what the D allows.

On defense the Bengals need to tackle. This defense is good, at times missed tackles have allowed opponents large gains. I don't want to see players fail to wrap up. Make your tackle and get off the field on third down.

Allowing the above to happen would place a pit in the stomach of Bengals fans everywhere. This is a chance for the Bengals to break the mold and quiet the talk of not having won a playoff game in thousands of years.

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