The San Diego Chargers will head into Cincinnati favored against the Bengals and they will need to come out and play up to that hype. The Bolts still are a game behind the first place Kansas City Chiefs and a Charger loss could result in playoff elimination. The Chargers will have to play with the “LIVE or DIE” mind set. They will have to play through some un-San Diego like conditions, with snow flurries expected and an expected game time temp of 30 degrees.
Chargers RBs Mike Tolbert and Ryan Matthews will have to control the ground attack. The Chargers are 7-0 when Rivers throws less than 30 passes, so establishing the running game will be important. If we are able to take care of the football and run the ball, then we should be able to put up points. The Chargers will need to make sure to block LB Dhani Jones, Jones is the Bengals leading tackler and will make tackles all over the field.
The Chargers passing game will have to function without TE Antonio Gates and WR Malcom Floyd (both out for the game). Philip Rivers will have to find Vincent Jackson and Kelley Washington in the passing attack. Marcus McNeill and the big men up front need to keep Rivers upright, so that he can find Jackson flying down the sideline for long gains.
The Chargers will be without their defensive captain LB Stephen Cooper for the game, so LB Brandon Siler will have to fill the role and make plays for the defense. Antonio Garay will have to anchor the defense and slow down RB Cedric Benson. The key to stopping the Bengals offense is to slow down Benson in the running game.
The Chargers defense will not have to worry about the Bengals leading receiver for the game, WR Terrell Owens is out for the rest of the season after having surgery on his knee. Chad Ochocinco will be the go-to receiver, but is slowed by a bad ankle and Quentin Jammer will look to slow him further. LBs Shaun Phillips and Antwan Barnes will have to put pressure off the edges on QB Carson Palmer and force him into poor passes.
This might be the week that the special teams breaks off a big return for a touchdown. The Bengals have already allowed 2 touchdowns on kickoff returns this year, so maybe this is the week when we see Darren Sproles break through.
The Chargers SHOULD win this game handily. They SHOULD have won a lot of games earlier in the season BUT lost, so they need to come into this game focused and take care of their business. Win this game and hope that Kansas City chokes their game away!
LET’S GO BOLTS!!
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