Los Angeles Chargers (0-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (0-0)
NFL Football: Sunday, September 13, 2020 at 4:05 pm (Paul Brown Stadium)
The Line: Cincinnati Bengals +3 -- Over/Under: 44 Click to Get Latest Betting Odds
The Los Angeles Chargers and Cincinnati Bengals meet Sunday in week 1 NFL action at Paul Brown Stadium.
The Los Angeles Chargers are coming off a five-win season that ended with them losing six of their last seven games. The Chargers won’t have Phillip Rivers for the first time in years, which makes journeyman Tyrod Taylor the week 1 starter. If Taylor can improve his accuracy and make better decisions with the ball, there’s a chance for this offense to be successful. There’s more than enough playmakers with running back Austin Ekeler and receivers Keenan Allen, Mike Williams and Hunter Henry. Defensively, the Chargers are sixth in the league last season in yards allowed per game and we should see a smiler effort this year. A defensive end trio of Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram III is as good as it gets in this league while Desmond King II and Drue Tranquill are promising young players. There’s potential with this Chargers squad, but a lot of it comes down to how effective their quarterback is going to be.
The Cincinnati Bengals have nowhere to go but up after winning just two games last season and often getting blown out on the field. The Bengals will start rookie quarterback Joe Burrow, and it will be interesting to see just how prepared he is given the lack of proper training camp and no preseason games. The return of a healthy AJ Green obviously goes a long way and running back Joe Mixon is coming off back to back seasons of 1,000 rushing yards. Burrow has the weapons around him to be successful, so it should be fun to see his progression at the next level. Defensively, the Bengals went out and snagged D.J. Reader, Mackensie Alexander, Trae Wayne, Josh Bynes and Vonn Bell in hopes of improving what was a brutal defense overall. Carlos Dunlap and Geno Atkins still produce one of the better defensive lines in the game.
The Chargers are 10-4-2 ATS in their last 16 road games, 1-5 ATS in their last 6 games as a favorite and 1-5-1 ATS in their last 7 games overall. The Bengals are 33-16-2 ATS in their last 51 games in September, 3-11 ATS in their last 14 home games and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games overall. The over is 4-1 in Chargers last 5 games overall. The over is 4-0 in Bengals last 4 games overall. The Chargers are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 meetings.
The Los Angeles Chargers are obviously the better team on paper on both sides of the ball, and they're a team we've made a lot of money with over these last two years. However, going from Rivers to Taylor at quarterback is a big drop off and I'm not thrilled about laying points with the Chargers on the road. The Cincinnati Bengals may have had the worst record in the league last year, but they improved their defense, get a Pro Bowl receiver back and have a young quarterback who is confident and very talented. It would surprise nobody if Burrow has a better season than Taylor despite the experience gap. I'll take my chances with the Bengals and the free field goal.