The Los Angeles Chargers travel from California to Ohio to open the season against the Bengals in Cincinnati. It’s never easy going from the west to the east, but getting one long trip out of the way in Week 1 has to be nice. They’ve had weeks to get used to the time difference from PST to EST. It’s a new era for both of these teams on Sunday.
The Charges will have an unfamiliar face under center for them in Cincinnati. After playing for the Chargers since 2004, Rivers signed with the Indianapolis Colts this past offseason. The writing was on the wall. It wasn’t an unexpected move for Rivers to sign elsewhere. He knew that the Chargers wanted to move on and so did Rivers. There were no hard feelings for either side.
The only thing left to decide was whether Justin Herbert or Tua Tagovailoa would be going to Los Angeles. With Tua off the board to the Dolphins at five, the Charges pulled the trigger on Herbert. Instead of us seeing the No. 1 overall pick against the No. 6 pick on Sunday, we’re only going to see the No. 1 selection on the field, barring an injury to Tyrod Taylor, that is.
After winning the national championship and Heisman in 2019, Joe Burrow sets his eyes on his professional career in the NFL. That career will begin on Sunday afternoon against the Chargers at Paul Brown Stadium. Burrow is the only rookie quarterback selected in the first round that will be starting in Week 1.
Former teammate, Joey Bosa, will be looking to make it a rude NFL debut for Burrow. The two were on the same roster in 2015 at Ohio State. I don’t know how well they knew each other, but Bosa hopes to re-introduce himself to Burrow on the ground in the backfield. With all of the attention on Burrow, the Bengals’ D. J. Reader signing went quietly under-the-radar.
26-year-old Reader is a big impact player that should provide an anchor on the defensive line for the Bengals. On both sides of the ball, the Bengals are trending in the right direction. Head below for our free Los Angeles Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals pick for NFL Week 1.
Los Angeles Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals NFL Week 1 Betting Odds:
LA Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals Prediction:
The Chargers are hoping for the best with Tyrod Taylor at quarterback. I’m not really sure what to expect from Taylor this season. He’s a serviceable veteran at this point in his career, but he doesn’t do anything overly impressive. Behind a shaky Chargers’ offensive line, Taylor might have to use his legs a little more than he’d like.
That said, Taylor is capable of running with the football. Taylor spent the last two years as a backup for the Browns and Chargers. In the last two years, Taylor passed for 3 touchdowns and 2 interceptions, with 132 yards rushing.
Taylor was more than competent as a starter in Buffalo with the Bills. In his last season in 2017, Taylor threw for 14 touchdowns and 4 interceptions, along with 427 yards rushing and 4 touchdowns on the ground. That’s nothing special, but if Taylor can do that for the Chargers this season, I think the coaching staff would be fine with it.
However, the addition of Reader to the Bengals’ defensive line does a lot for them in this game. Put him with Geno Atkins up front and the Bengals should be tough to run the ball on, that that will have to wait, as Atkins has been ruled out with an injury. Nevertheless, the Chargers’ offensive line likely isn’t going to blow the Bengals off the ball on Sunday. If that’s the case, Taylor will be forced to make plays with his arm.
The Bengals would be content with that situation playing out, but Taylor will probably still be able to make a play or two. Fortunately for Burrow, the Chargers probably won’t be able to turn this into a game where he’ll be forced to keep up in a high-scoring shootout.
Although, the Chargers’ defense will provide him with a decent challenge right out of the gate. The Chargers conceded 313.1 yards per game for sixth in the NFL. Down from 337 yards the previous season in 2018. They can’t take the Bengals lightly here, though. Burrow has plenty of weapons to work with on Sunday.
A healthy A.J. Green is back and they have depth at the wide receiver position, with John Ross and Tyler Boyd providing a nice second and third option. Burrow may not have a huge game in his debut, but he should come close to leading the Bengals to a win in Week 1. I’m not in love with laying points on the road far away from LA on Tyrod Taylor. Laying points with teams travelling from the west to east doesn’t generally work out too well. I’ll take my chances with the rookie and the Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium as small home underdogs.