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Playoffs Game Day Open Thread: Bengals v. Colts

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Cincinnati takes on Indy at Lucas Oil Stadium. Talk AFC playoffs on Battle Red Blog.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

SUNDAY, JANUARY 4, 2015

AFC: Cincinnati (10-5-1) v. Indianapolis (11-5)

12 p.m. (CST) on CBS

Andy Dalton and the Bengals play another Wild Card game for the fourth consecutive year, but can they finally win and make it to the divisional round?  They haven't won a playoff game since 1991, and are looking for the running tandem of Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard to take the pressure off of Andy Dalton.

Andrew Luck has an NFL best 43 touchdowns and is the league leader with 42 passes of 25 yards or more.  Luck's 12,957 passing yards are the most in history through a three season span.  He has a healthy T.Y. Hilton and Dwayne Allen in the passing game, but the offensive line has been banged up late in the season.  They also have not had any help from Trent Richardson or Ahmad Bradshaw in the running game, as they enter with the lowest rushing yards per game of any AFC team in the playoffs.

These teams competed at the same venue in Indy during week 7 of the regular season, and the Colts shutout the Bengals 27-0.  Andy Dalton was held to just 18 completions in 38 attempts for 126 yards passing, while Andrew Luck was 27 of 42 for 344 yards and 2 touchdowns.  Indy rolled strong with 506 yards of total offense, and Cincinnati tied a franchise record with 11 punts.

That was back on October 19th, so how do they stack up after a full season three months later?

NFL.com shows the following stat comparison at of the end of the regular season:

The Colts have the edge in almost every category except rushing.  The Bengals will need to rely heavily on their running game to grind down the clock and keep the Colts' explosive offense off the field.  Cincinnati will also be without their best two receivers: A.J. Green and Jermaine Gresham have been ruled out for today's game.

Today's Inactive Players

BENGALS:

WR A.J. Green

TE Jermaine Gresham

QB A.J. McCarron

DB Chris Lewis-Harris

OL Tanner Hawkinson

DL Devon Still

WR James Wright

COLTS:

CB Jalil Brown

CB Sheldon Price

LB Henoc Muamba

OL A.Q. Shipley

OG Hugh Thornton

OL Xavier Nixon

DL Zach Kerr

*****

Your Texans are not in the mix this season, but they certainly look primed to make that leap next year.  Pull up a chair and enjoy this AFC battle, as the NFL playoffs continue on Battle Red Blog.  The usual rules apply.