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A Quick Look: Cincinnati Bengals @ Indianapolis Colts

Intro: The Wild Card Round of the playoffs will begin Sunday afternoon for the Colts (11-5) when they host the Bengals (10-5-1) at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Colts have won 8 of their last 10 meetings with the Bengals.





INDIANAPOLIS – The teams separated by the shortest distance of any AFC foes are used to playing each other over the course of an NFL season.

The stakes on Sunday though are unlike any Indianapolis and Cincinnati has had on the playing field in more than 40 years.

This one won't have the feel of the preseason finales they play against each other each season.

January is nearing and that means teams are 60 minutes away from surviving another week or having their offseason vacations begin.

Sunday's Wild Card matchup at Lucas Oil Stadium is a rematch from Week Seven earlier this season.

In that contest, also in Indianapolis, it was the Colts defense that stole the show. The unit produced the Colts first shutout since 2008 and led the charge to a 27-0 victory over the then AFC North leaders.

The Bengals team that will enter Lucas Oil Stadium this weekend has a new look from the one seen back in mid-October.

Rookie running back Jeremy Hill has become the team's feature back after just four carries in the regular season meeting against the Colts.

Hill has had five 100-yard running games down the stretch. Since Week Eight, Hill leads the NFL with 954 rushing yards.

With the uncertainly surrounding Bengals Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green's concussion (Green also missed the Week Seven meeting in Indianapolis), a reliable ground attack of Hill and the versatile Giovanni Bernard is going to be key for the Bengals.

Cincinnati quarterback Andy Dalton will be looking for his first playoff win. Dalton comes into this weekend with an 0-3 record and just one touchdown thrown in his three postseason appearances.

The injury watch for the Colts this weekend will have a focus on a banged up offensive line group. The Bengals have struggled in getting after the quarterback this season, ranking last in the NFL with 20 sacks.

The Bengals will be looking for their first career road playoff win in franchise history.

*2014 Record: *10-5-1, 2nd in the AFC North

*Head Coach: *Marvin Lewis, 12th season as Bengals head coach (100-90-2 overall in the regular season and 0-5 in the playoffs).

*2014 NFL Rankings: *Offense – Overall, 15th (348.0); Rushing, 6th (134.2); Passing, 21st (213.8). Defense – Overall, 22nd (359.3); Rushing, 20th (116.3); Passing, 20th (243.0).

2014 Leading Passer: Andy Dalton (309-of-482 comp., 3,398 yards, 64.1 pct., 19 TDs, 17 INTs).

*2014 Leading Rusher: *Jeremy Hill (222 carries, 1,124 yards, 9 TDs).

*2014 Leading Receiver: *A.J. Green (69 receptions, 1,041 yards, 6 TDs).

2014 Leading Sacker:  Carlos Dunlap (8.0).

2014 Turnover Breakdown:  0 (tied for 16th).

2014 NFL Draft Results:  Despite drafting later in the first round, the Bengals found some productive players in May. Former Michigan State cornerback Darqueze Dennard fell to the 24th pick of the opening round. In the second round, LSU running back Jeremy Hill has taken a lead role as the 2014 season has gone along. Center Russell Bodine was the choice in the fourth round and he was a player some mock drafts had the Colts selecting.

*2013 Review: *The Bengals continued their recent rise to the top of the AFC North with an 11-5 season last year. Cincinnati got off to a 6-2 start in 2013 and then recovered from back-to-back losses to win five of their last six games. The postseason though once again spelled trouble for the Bengals. San Diego came to Cincinnati for the Wild Card round and headed back west with a 27-10 victory. It marked the third straight season the Bengals fell in their opening playoff game.

Last time in Playoffs:  2013 season. Lost in the Wild Card Round of the Playoffs, 27-10, to the San Diego Charges.

*Last time in Super Bowl: *1988 season.

*Super Bowl Championships: *Never.

2015 Pro Bowl Selections: WR-A.J. Green and P-Kevin Huber.

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