The Colts made the playoffs in Andrew Luck's first year at quarterback, but they were handily bounced from the postseason by the eventual Super Bowl champions. Andy Dalton and the Bengals have experienced that same dejected feeling in the postseason each of the past two seasons, albeit at the hands of the Houston Texans.
Thus, both Luck and Dalton will be searching for their first playoff win.
The Bengals defense is synonymous with pressure. The unit registered 51 sacks, the third-highest total in the NFL in 2012. Opponents struggled to move the ball through the air as a result, averaging just 5.6 net yards per pass attempt, the sixth-lowest average last season.
The defense lacks elite talent in the secondary, but as long as it can take away wide receiver Reggie Wayne (easier said than done), enough pressure up front will do the trick.
If the Bengals offense is to function through the two tight ends, Jermaine Gresham and Tyler Eifert, the Colts linebackers and safeties could have trouble. They ranked 30th in the NFL covering tight ends last year, according to Football Outsiders.
Even without the two tight ends, any shot the Colts have of stopping the Bengals starts with shutting down A.J. Green, and chances of that happening appear slim at best.
Prediction: Bengals 20, Colts 16