NFL Wild Card Weekend: Colts vs. Bengals Preview

Updated: January 4, 2015
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Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton will look to get his first playoff victory Sunday against Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts.

The Colts (11-5) stomped the Bengals (10-5-1) earlier this season, 27-0, and will be looking for a repeat performance.

The Bengals were without star wide receiver A.J. Green during that Week 7 matchup, and they’ll be without the Pro-Bowler once again Sunday. Green suffered a concussion during the Bengals’ season finale against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and was limited in practice throughout the week.

It may be a struggle offensively without Green, but the Bengals have been highly dependent upon rookie running back Jeremy Hill in recent weeks. Hill has 1,124 rushing yards this season, and nine rushing touchdowns to go along with it.

If they can establish the run against Indianapolis’ run-defense, it will open things up for Dalton and company. However, it will be imperative for the Bengals to keep pace with the Colts’ high-powered offense.

Luck has led the Colts to the top ranked passing offense in the NFL, and the third ranked offense in total yards. They’ve only scored under 20 points twice all season, one coming in a 42-7 beatdown to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 16 once the AFC South was already locked up.

Their running game hasn’t been very productive, but Luck has consistently bailed his team out.

The third year quarterback has put up MVP-like numbers this season, throwing for 4,761 passing yards (third in the NFL), 40 touchdowns (leads the NFL) and 16 interceptions.

He will look to bounce back from his performance in the playoffs last year, as he threw seven interceptions in just two games. Luck is 1-2 in his short playoff career, but has helped the Colts reach the postseason in each of his three seasons.

The winner of this game will head to Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium to face the Denver Broncos next week. Not to say the Colts won’t have their hands full with the Bengals, but it would be very intriguing to watch Luck and Peyton Manning dual it out with a trip to the AFC Championship on the line.

Even though his team has reached the playoffs in four consecutive seasons now, Marvin Lewis has yet to win a playoff game as head coach of the Bengals. Going on the road to face a high-scoring Colts team without his best player in Green, the odds will be stacked against him Sunday afternoon.


Josiah Turner


Photo Cred (Kirk Irwin/Getty Images North America)

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