With less than 48 hours until game day, here’s what the LA Chargers can do to secure a Week 1 win vs. Cincinnati.
The last time the LA Chargers played the Bengals was in the 2018 season. While that’s not actually that long ago, a lot has changed on both teams. Joe Burrow is now in at quarterback for Cincy instead of *checks notes* Jeff Driskel, but Philip Rivers is no longer the quarterback of the Chargers.
In general franchise trajectory, the Chargers are still trying to contend with the roster they have whereas the Bengals find themselves in a rebuild. That’s no reason to take them lightly though, as Cincinnati can still win this game. There are a few things the Chargers can do to make sure they spoil Burrow’s debut.
1. Ingram and Bosa have to put pressure on Burrow, early and often.
These are probably the easiest 2020 matchups that Melvin Ingram and Joey Bosa will have. Starting at left tackle is Jonah Williams, the Bengals’ 2019 first-round pick. The former Alabama product missed all of last season with an injury, so this will be his first NFL game. His reward is that he gets to go against a top-five pass rusher in Bosa. Welcome to the league!
On the right side, things might be even worse for the Bengals in terms of protecting against Ingram. Bobby Hart is the starting right tackle. Hart has never scored above a 60.3 right tackle PFF grade and has mostly graded in the low 50’s in his NFL career. Run blocking is a particular weakness of his.
The Chargers absolutely have to take advantage of the left and right tackle spots on Cincinnati’s offensive line. It’s the key to applying pressure to Burrow, especially in his first NFL game. Los Angeles finished 28th in sacks last season, so it’s imperative they get off on the right foot this season. Linval Joseph could help Ingram and Bosa in a big way here.