Los Angeles Chargers @ Cincinnati Bengals
When: 9/13 @ 4:05pm ET
Point Spread: Bengals +3
Moneyline: Chargers -167 | Bengals +140
Chargers Key Injuries: Derwin James, S, Knee (IR)Mike Williams, WR, Shoulder (Q), Bryan Bulaga, OT, Undisclosed (Q), Mike Pouncey, C, Undisclosed (Q)
Bengals Key Injuries: Darius Phillips, CB, Knee (Q), Geno Atkins, DT, Shoulder (Q), Mike Daniels, DT, Groin (Q), Shawn Williams, S, Calf (Q)
The Chargers defense will look to give fits to Bengals rookie signal caller Joe Burrow in his first career start. Running back Austin Ekeler had a career year in 2019 that was slightly dampened by the return of Melvin Gordon following his holdout. Now Ekeler gets the backfield to himself and has a legitimate chance to lead the Chargers in both rushing and receiving yards in 2020. The Chargers ideally want to pressure Burrow into rookie mistakes, but will only do so if they can build a lead and slow down running back Joe Mixon. 2019 was a tough year for the Chargers stopping running backs, and a big Joe Mixon day could spell an upset.
Joe Burrow has more weapons than any rookie quarterback in recent memory. Many of the receivers have recent injury issues, but they should all be healthy for this week one game. However, it will be the running game led by Joe Mixon that will need to be great if the Bengals are to pull the upset. The strength of this Charger defense is the secondary even without Derwin James. The Chargers are weak up front so Mixon should have a great day. On defense, the Bengals have a lot of holes and numerous injuries throughout the secondary. If they want any shot of stopping the Chargers, they will need to dominate the line of scrimmage against the Chargers beat up offensive line.