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LA Chargers: Bolt Beat staff predictions vs. Cincinnati Bengals

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
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The LA Chargers begin their 2020 season against Joe Burrow the Cincinnati Bengals.

Football is finally back and the LA Chargers take on the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 1 of the 2020 season.

This is an interesting matchup as both teams are undergoing big changes. Both teams selected a quarterback high in the 2020 NFL Draft, with Joe Burrow starting for the Bengals and Justin Herbert sitting out a year for the Chargers.

Instead, it will be Burrow vs. Tyrod Taylor. To welcome back football, we are starting a new series here at Bolt Beat where the staff picks both who they think will win as well as the total of the game. We are going to be keeping track of both the pick record and the over/under record. The over/under for this game is 42, courtesy of The Action Network.

Bolt Beat staff LA Chargers vs. Cincinnati Bengals predictions:

Alexander Insdorf: 24-20, LA Chargers

“The Chargers are favored by about 3 in this one and that seems pretty accurate. They’re a much more talented team than Cincinnati, but there’s so much uncertainty regarding preparation for the game, the shortened offseason, and no preseason. It will four or five weeks for each NFL team to find their footing.

As for the matchup specifically, Joe Burrow will play decently well, but I don’t see him having the Patrick Mahomes debut game that burnt the Chargers a few years ago. Even without the threat of Derwin James, having to go against Casey Hayward, Desmond King, and Chris Harris in your first NFL game isn’t pleasant.

For the Chargers, I see the offense being kept relatively conservative for now. I’d be surprised if they didn’t run the ball 20-30 times in this game. As long as Tyrod Taylor keeps turnovers down, I see the Chargers scoring pretty easily. The big difference in this game is the huge gap in talent between the defenses for Cincy and LA.”

Brandon Viera: 31-17, LA Chargers

“Although Mike Pouncey will be out, it is something the Chargers are used to after last season and Geno Atkins has also been ruled out for the game.

I believe the Chargers defense will be too much for rookie quarterback Joe Burrow and the offense has enough chemistry to put up points even with the limited amount of practice they got this offseason (compared to previous seasons).”

Devon Auriemma: 24-17, LA Chargers

“Although Mike Pouncey will be out, it is something the LA Chargers are used to after last season and Geno Atkins has also been ruled out for the game. I believe the Chargers defense will be too much for rookie quarterback Joe Burrow and the offense has enough chemistry to put up points even with the limited amount of practice they got this offseason (compared to previous seasons).”

Faustino Felix: 26-17, LA Chargers

“The Chargers start the season as road favorites, and while many are nervous about the Chargers doing Chargers things and messing up what should be an easy win against a rookie with not a single NFL snap, I think the Chargers walk into Cincinnati and do a solid job.

Michael Badgley should have fond memories from playing against the Bengals, and he will be a key factor for a Chargers win.”

Steven Haglund: 23-20, LA Chargers

“This game worries me and I can definitely see the Bengals winning. Their offense is being really underrated in my opinion. The cast around Burrow is very good and fits his skill set. Geno Atkins and Mike Pouncey’s health could also be the turning point for either team.

For now, I’ll say that Keenan Allen, Austin Ekeler and Joey Bosa will make just enough plays to push the Chargers, narrowly, over the edge.”

Tyler Gallagher: 17-14, LA Chargers

“While the Chargers will not have the same level of success against first-time starter Joe Burrow as they did against first-time starter Nathan Peterman, the defense applies too much pressure for Burrow and the Bengals’ offense to be effective. The Bengals’ defensive line does enough to cause some problems, but the Chargers offense does just enough to take care of business.”

Jason Reed: 20-16, LA Chargers

“Don’t rule the Bengals out. Not having Mike Pouncey is a huge deal. I know that the team has experience with running Dan Feeney at center but losing your starting center right before Week 1, especially when it is a veteran, is pretty unfortunate.

However, I just do not see Joe Burrow being able to succeed in this game behind one of the league’s worst offensive lines against one of the league’s best pass rushes, especially without a preseason.

Next. Five keys to beating the Bengals in Week 1

I have the Bengals kicking three field goals and scoring one touchdown while the Chargers add a pair of touchdowns and field goals of their own.”

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