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Los Angeles Chargers vs Cincinnati Bengals - NFL Week 1

Sunday
September 13, 2020
4:05 PM ET

Cincinnati, Ohio
Paul Brown Stadium

About the Chargers

The organization moved on from a long time QB Philip Rivers during the offseason and decided that it was time for a change behind the center. The Chargers drafted QB Justin Herbert out of Oregon and plan to give him time to learn the position and groom him for the starting role. In the meantime, QB Tyrod Taylor will begin the season as the starter, and he can do damage with his feet and can sling it if given ample time in the pocket. RB Austin Ekeler filled in admirably last season during Melvin Gordon’s holdout and played extremely well and earned the trust of the coaching staff as he has earned the starting role. WR Keenan Allen is one of the top players at his position as he has produced 3 consecutive seasons of 1,000 yards receiving. DE Joey Bosa is a terror on the defensive side of the ball and has accumulated double-digit sacks in 3 of his 4 seasons. The Chargers defense was dealt a major blow when S Derwin James was lost for the season due to an injury.

About the Bengals

First overall pick QB Joe Burrow was immediately handed the keys to the Bengals offense and they are hoping he can elevate the franchise in the same fashion he led LSU to a National Championship Burrow is accurate in the short to intermediate part of the field but also has the ability to make the necessary throws downfield. The Bengals' biggest concern is whether the offensive line will be able to adequately protect Burrow? LT Jonah Williams will finally be able to play after missing the entire 2019 season after suffering a season-ending injury. The Bengals have lacked stability at LT, and Williams is a polished player who should be reliable in pass protection. WR A.J. Green returns from a season-ending injury also and will join fellow WR’s Tyler Boyd, Auden Tate, and rookie Tee Higgins in a talented WR corps. The defense was significantly upgraded during the free agency period with the signings of NT D.J. Reader, DB’s Trae Waynes, Mackenzie Alexander, and S Vonn Bell. The defense will have to put pressure on Taylor as DL Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins are the men to get the job done.

Players to Watch

Hunter Henry (Chargers): Expect Henry to get plenty of action as Taylor should look his way on short passes and especially on 3rd down.

Joe Mixon (Bengals): Fresh off of a contract extension, Mixon should benefit from running behind an improved offensive line. The Chargers allowed 112.8 yards per game last season, 18th in the NFL.

Impact Rookies

Alohi Gilman (Chargers): Gilman has an unexpected opportunity to earn playing time due to the unfortunate injury to James. While he is not the most talented player, he plays with a lot of hustle and heart and lays it all on the line. He needs to get faster and improve in coverage.

Tee Higgins (Bengals): Higgins is a big target who can be effective in catching short or deep passes and can also be used in the red zone in goal-line situations.

Prediction

Joe Burrow puts on a spectacular performance in his NFL debut torching the Chargers secondary as the Bengals offensive line plays well despite multiple sacks from Bosa.

Final Score: Bengals 23 / Chargers 31

Daniel I. Outerbridge

Daniel I. Outerbridge

A contributing writer with aspirations and ambitions to become a sports journalist.

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