Now we’ve come to the final two teams left on the San Diego Chargers schedule. Both the Miami Dolphins and the Cincinati Bengals finished second in their respective divisions, the Indianapolis Colts also took second place in the AFC South, yet this being the rotational year we play the south division, we would have played the Colts regardless of what place they finished. Nevertheless, let’s wrap up this series by judging the talent and team of the Dolphins and Bengals.
The Chargers will face the Miami Dolphins on November 17th in Miami Gardens. The second year coach Joe Philbin will be attempting to grow from a 7-9 start in his first year as head coach. The Dolphins did some unexpected things on defense, finishing 7th in points allowed good for a team in the same division as the New England Patriots. Rookie Ryan Tannehill played behind the shadow of Andrew Luck and RG3, but with the help of Reggie Bush, the team managed to avoid completely tanking out. Brian Hartline had a nice coming out party with 1,000 plus yards and should continue the trend especially since Bush is gone. The Dolphin’s traded up in the draft to select Dion Jordan, second overall, but sources are saying Jordan is struggling. Never fear, former Chargers Vaughn Martin and Antwan Applewhite are here! Oh, and not to mention Cameron Wake who registered 15 sacks in 2012. Miami also did themselves a huge favor in free agency by adding names such as Mike Wallace, Brent Grimes and Darnell Ellerbe. The Chargers should edge by this team, unless something unexpected occurs, like the last time the Dolphins ran wild with the wild cat and stunned the entire NFL! I predict that wouldn’t be the case.
On the first of December, the Cincinnati Bengals will be coming to town. They are an average offensive team with a decent quarterback in Andy Dalton, but what makes this team tick is a mauling defense. The Chargers offensive line will have their hands full containing Geno Atkins, Michael Johnson and Carlos Dunlap, the Bengals managed 50 sacks. On the flip side, the Bengals gave up 46 sacks, three less than the Chargers dysfunctional o-line, this will give Corey Liuget, Dwight Freeney and Kendall Reyes something to look forward to. Our newly acquired rookie nose tackle, Kwame Geathers will be watching his brother, Robert Geathers from the sidelines rather than the stands for the first time. The Bengals knew they needed additional help on offense and selected Tyler Eifert in the 2012 draft, he will be paired up with Jermaine Gresham in a double tight end attack. A.J Green made a mess on the field with 97 receptions and 1,350 yards and could carve up our backfield, unfortunately for the Bengals, they lack a second option at receiver that requires similar attention which can place Green in a position to be doubled against.
If the Chargers defense is anything of what the media has been portraying of a possible elite unit then winning these two games should be a piece of cake. The Chargers are ready to play the Arizona Cardinals in their third pre-season game this Saturday, you wouldn’t want to miss this one as the first team could play two maybe three quarters!