Make no mistake about it, Philip Rivers' bounce back season is the main reason the Chargers are still playing football. After a two year slump in which the Chargers quarterback threw 35 picks and had a passer rating best described as mediocre (88.6), he has rebounded in a big way. This season Rivers threw 32 touchdowns with just 11 interceptions. His passer rating is 105.5, second only to likely league MVP Peyton Manning (115.1).
While Rivers has been steady under center, Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has been hit or miss. When on, the third-year player looks elite. Unfortunately, those games have been few and far between this season. Dalton had a career high 20 interceptions in 2013. In last week's regular season finale he threw 4. Remarkably the Bengals still won, an attribute to their opportunistic defense and solid running game.
So advantage Chargers?
Safety Eric Weddle, who rarely minces words, had this to say about his quarterback after Wednesday's practice, "Philip is playing outstanding. We go as he goes." Head coach Mike McCoy knows the value of a big-time QB come playoff time, "It's definitely something you like to have. The players rally around him and any time you've got a player like Philip Rivers, you've got a chance."