1. Nothing to lose: San Diego is a hot team, winning five of their last six, including four straight to finish the regular season. They can go into the playoffs with a loose and care-free attitude as the No. 6 seed. At 5-7 at one point this season, few NFL observers expected the Chargers to make the postseason. But with one of the top offenses in the league, San Diego should be a tough test in the AFC.
2. Road warriors: One thing the Chargers can lean on is the team’s success on the road this season, finishing 4-4, including wins over two playoffs teams in Denver and Kansas City. Those victories should give this team confidence going into a hostile environment on the road. San Diego, of course, faces a Cincinnati team the Chargers played earlier this season, losing 17-10 at Qualcomm Stadium on Dec. 1. So San Diego coach Mike McCoy should have some familiarity in game-planning for the Bengals.
3. Experience at QB: The Chargers have another advantage with an experienced hand at quarterback in Philip Rivers. Although Rivers is 3-4 in the playoffs as a starter, the game should not be too big for him, having played on the road in the postseason at New England and Pittsburgh in the past.