NFL Week 13 odds: Cincinnati at San Diego

The surging are right in the thick of the AFC wild-card race, while the sputtering aren’t quite dead yet but likely need to win out to have any hope for the postseason and also to save Coach Norv Turner’s job.

Cincinnati has won its last three games by an average of 21.3 points but is 1-5 in San Diego in the past 20 years. On defense, the Bengals are second only to the Broncos in sacks (35) and they are first in sack percentage (8.5). Their four-man rush is among the NFL’s best. Good depth allows them to sustain effort. Defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer, whom the Chargers interviewed for their head coaching job before choosing Turner, is adept at changing looks on passing downs.

Cincy QB Andy Dalton has continued where he left off as a rookie, completing 237 of 374 (63.4%) for 2,769 yards, nearly 252 yards per game, with 23 touchdowns to just 11 interceptions. His top target is the NFL’s fourth-leading receiver and the team’s top draft pick a year ago, wide receiver A.J. Green, who’s already racked up 1,022 yards and an NFL-leading 10 touchdown catches on 67 receptions. The Bengals have rushed for 1,253 yards as a team, led by veteran Benjarvus Green-Ellis, who’s well on his way to his second-career 1,000-yard season with 767 yards and five touchdowns on 201 carries.

While Chargers QB Philip Rivers has been one of the league’s most dynamic passers over the past few years, he also has thrown almost as many interceptions (34) as he has touchdown passes (45) over the last two seasons. While the Bengals have been an upper-echelon team when it comes to not giving up a ton of yards through the air, they are not a great ball-hawking team. They currently rank 20th in interceptions with eight and Rivers does not want to give the Bengals good field position by throwing to the wrong team. : Rivers has been sacked 32 times this year, the second-highest total among starting QBs.

San Diego has an explosive offense that can move the chains methodically, or score quickly with a downfield passing attack. What the Chargers have been missing is the killer instinct that allows them to finish games off when they hold a slim lead. Of their previous 11 games, the Chargers have scored a fourth-quarter touchdown in just four.

For the year, the Chargers rank 25th in total offense (324.4 yards per game), 18th in passing (224.4 ypg), 25th in rushing (99.5 ypg) and 16th in points (22.3). The Bengals rank 13th in total offense (358.5 ypg), 12th in passing (244.5 ypg), 14th in rushing (113.9 ypg) and 10th in points (25.6)

Defensively, the Bolts rank 10th in total defense (334.7 ypg), 20th in passing (243.3 ypg), fifth in rushing (91.5 ypg) and 12th in points allowed (21.5). Cincinnati ranks ninth in total defense (334.5 ypg), eighth in passing (218.4 ypg), 17th in rushing (116.1 ypg) and 15th in points allowed (22.5).

WAGERWEB.COM OPENING LINE: Bengals -1 (45.5) Check out current lines

BENGALS NOTES: Since Week 10, Cin. is averaging 31 points per game, 3rd-best in NFL…In past 3, QB Andy Dalton has passed for 639 yards with 9 TDs vs. 0 INTs & 117.2 rating. Dalton is 1 of 3 players in NFL history with 20 TD passes in each of 1st 2 seasons (Peyton Manning, Dan Marino). Has 100.1 4th-quarter rating in 2012, 2nd-best in AFC (Peyton Manning, 110.5)…Cin. rushed for season-high 221 yards last week … RB BenJarvus Green-Ellis aims for 3rd straight with 100 rush yards & rush TD. Has 29 rush TDs since ’10, tied for 3rd-most in NFL … WR A.J. Green (2,079) reached 2,000 career rec. yards in his 26th game last week, tied for 2nd fewest to reach 2,000 since 1970. Has career-best 10 TD catches, incl. 3 for 50 yards (73, 57, 56). Since ’11, Green has 17 TD rec., most among AFC WRs. Rookie WR Mohamed Sanu aims for 4th consecutive game with TD rec…Defense ranks 2nd in NFL with 35 sacks … DT Geno Atkins (9) needs sack to become 4th Bengal with 10 in season since ’82 … DE Michael Johnson has career-best 8 sacks.

CHARGERS NOTES: Club is 18-3 (.857) in Dec. under Norv Turner … Have won 5 of past 6 at home vs. Bengals … QB Philip Rivers (26,974) surpassed QB John Hadl (26,938) for 2nd-most pass yards in club history last week, trailing only HOFer Dan Fouts (43,040). In 3 career games vs. Bengals, Rivers has passed for 902 yards with 7 TDs vs. 3 INTs & 99.4 rating … RB Ryan Mathews is averaging 93.5 rush yards per game in past 4 in Dec. (374 total) … TE Antonio Gates (80) trails only HOFer Lance Alworth (81) for most TD catches in team history. In 2 career games vs. Cin., WR Malcom Floyd averages 19.1 yards per catch. In past 3, WR Danario Alexander is averaging 101.3 rec. yards per game with 3 TDs … LB Shaun Phillips (67) has 2nd-most sacks by Charger (Leslie O’NEAL, 105.5) since ’82 … LB Takeo Spikes was selected No. 13 overall in ’98 NFL Draft by Bengals & spent 5 seasons (1998-02) in Cin. … LB Antwan Barnes had season-best 2 sacks last week.

WAGERWEB.COM TRENDS: Bengals are 3-11-2 ATS in their last 16 vs. AFC. Bengals are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games in Week 13. Bengals are 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games after accumulating more than 350 total yards in their previous game. Chargers are 9-3 ATS in their last 12 vs. AFC. Chargers are 15-6 ATS in their last 21 games in December. Chargers are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 games overall. Chargers are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record.