NFL Wire News

Week 2 preview: Chargers at Bengals

on

The Sports Xchange

San Diego Chargers (1-0) at Cincinnati Bengals (1-0)

Sunday, 1:00 p.m. ET, at Paul Brown Stadium, Cincinnati – TV: CBS

*TV announcers: Ian Eagle, Dan Fouts, Evan Washburn

*Keys to the game: The Chargers rallied to beat the Lions after trailing 21-3 thanks to an opening week-leading 483 total team yards and 388 passing yards from QB Philip Rivers. It’s more one-dimensional than coach Mike McCoy prefers, and the Chargers are determined to get more from rookie RB Melvin Gordon. The trouble for the Chargers is getting movement behind a mishmash offensive line. Controlling the inside tandem of Geno Atkins and Domata Peko, the heart of the Bengals’ defense, is complicated for San Diego without powerful RG DJ Fluker (ankle).

The Bengals continue to develop talent beyond No. 1 WR A.J. Green, with TE Tyler Eifert flexing some muscle (9-104-2) at Oakland in the opener. The Chargers are entrusting their young secondary in man coverage with rangy S Eric Weddle roaming the middle of the field. But if the safeties play back, the Bengals are thrilled to hand the game to RBs Jeremy Hill and Giovani Bernard, a dangerous third-down threat who had 88 yards from scrimmage last week.

*Matchup to watch – Chargers WR Keenan Allen vs. Bengals CB Adam Jones: Both had headline efforts in Week 1; Allen with 15 receptions and Jones for his pro wrestling maneuver on Raiders WR Amari Cooper. Allen, not always high on Rivers’ progression, looks like the clear top target with TE Antonio Gates (suspension) out.

*Player spotlight – Bengals FS Reggie Nelson: With a pick last week, Nelson became one of three players with 20+ INTs and 6.0+ sacks since 2007, but he could miss the game after sitting out practice Wednesday. That would push Shawn Williams or rookie Derrick Smith into a starting role, and Rivers’ crosshairs.

*Fast facts: Dalton has a 70-to-3 TD-to-INT ratio in the red zone, behind only Aaron Rodgers (Packers) and Russell Wilson (Seahawks) among active quarterbacks. … Rivers has started 146 consecutive games, the second-longest streak in the NFL.

WHO WILL WIN AND WHY

The Bengals will press the pocket and take away check-downs that Chargers QB Philip Rivers thrived on last week and plow for yards behind an offensive line that might be a bully in 2015.

*Our pick: Bengals 29-23.


About The Sports Xchange

Since 1987, the Sports Xchange has been the best source of information and analysis for the top professionals in the sports publishing & information business