Los Angeles Chargers vs Cincinnati Bengals Predictions, Odds & Picks

  • The LA Chargers will start journeyman QB Tyrod Taylor instead of rookie Justin Herbert
  • Rookie QB phenom Joe Burrow gets the nod as starter for the Bengals in Week 1
  • These two teams played last in 2018 when LA beat Cincinnati by a score of 26-21

Chargers vs Bengals Odds

Team Point Spread
Los Angeles Chargers -3 (-110)
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Cincinnati Bengals +3 (-110)
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Chargers vs Bengals Predictions and Picks

Regardless of how well Burrow played in college, he’s leading the typically hapless Cincinnati Bengals now, so it will take a few wins by them before it will be safe to put money on them – for Week 1, though, the Chargers at -3 is a far safer bet.

Pick:

Chargers -3 (-110)

How to Watch Chargers vs Bengals

Chargers vs Bengals Information
What Los Angeles Chargers vs Cincinnati Bengals
Where Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, OH
When Sunday, September 13, 2020; 4:05 PM ET
How to watch CBS

The Los Angeles Chargers have moved on from their former veteran QB Philip Rivers and are now resting all of their Super Bowl hopes on the arm of rookie Justin Herbert, though for now, they will be content relying on the steady play of journeyman Tyrod Taylor under center.

On the other side of the field in Week 1 will be the Cincinnati Bengals, who feel their football tables have turned now that they will be led by former LSU national champion quarterback Joe Burrow, whose obvious skills and high football IQ may (or may not) translate in the NFL right away.

It will come down to whether the Bengals’ questionable defense can stop the Chargers’ reasonably functioning offense led by a proven QB commodity, so unless Burrow is full of game-changing miracles, it seems more likely that this one will go LA’s way.

Can Chargers QB Tyrod Taylor Be Immediately Effective?

Last season, QB Tyrod Taylor played as the backup in L.A. for veteran Philip Rivers, and in the eight games he saw action in, he completed 4-of-6 passes for 33 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.

Before that, Taylor spent the 2018 season keeping the QB position warm in Cleveland until their franchise future, Baker Mayfield, was ready to take over the reins there (he did by Week 3), a service it looks like Tyrod will provide for the Chargers while they are waiting for the newest face of their own team, rookie star Justin Herbert, to be ready to start.

Taylor isn’t flashy and won’t blow away the opposing defense with arm strength or clever play-calling – but what he will do is play a solid and consistent game, which gives the Chargers a legitimate chance to win if they can simply execute whatever game plan head coach Anthony Lynn and offensive coordinator Shane Steichen have cooked up.

Can Bengals Rookie QB Joe Burrow Adjust Quickly to the NFL Level?

Very few rookie quarterbacks are excellent in Week 1, but that is exactly what the Cincinnati Bengals’ front office is hoping happens with their number one overall pick, Joe Burrow.

Burrow, the superstar LSU stud who led his team to a national championship by throwing 60 touchdown passes last season, has the talent, size and arm strength to make an immediate impact in the NFL.

The biggest hurdle that Burrow faces, though, is simply having to suit up and lead a team that hasn’t had a winning attitude since their string of five Wild Card playoff losses that happened between 2011 and 2015, their winning seasons and postseason appearances at zero ever since.


Editor’s pick:


Chargers Key Player: (RB) Austin Ekeler

For the Chargers to do well with Taylor at QB in Week 1, it will be important for their rushing attack to be up to speed right away.

Austin Ekeler is LA’s fourth-year star running back who posted 132 carries last season for 557 rushing yards for 3 touchdowns, plus 92 catches for 993 yards and another 8 touchdowns through the air.

Taylor will truly benefit if double-threat Ekeler has a worthy Week 1 from the backfield.

Bengals Key Player: (WR) A.J. Green

The Bengals are finally getting back one of their best receivers, and arguably one of the most talented pass catchers in the league, A.J. Green, who did not play in 2019 due to torn ligaments in his ankle.

In 2018, Green only played in 9 games due to a toe injury, but he still caught 46 balls for 694 yards and 6 touchdowns during that campaign.

For Burrow to excel under center and for the Bengals to have any chance of winning, Green has to be back healthy and at full strength, which is exactly what it looks like will happen in this Week 1 matchup.

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Mike Lukas

Expert on NFL

Mike Lukas is a retired standup comedian turned freelance writer now living in Dallas, Texas, originally from Cleveland, Ohio. His love for the game of football and all things Cleveland Browns turned Mike into a pro blogger years ago. Now Mike enjoys writing about all thirty-two NFL teams, hoping to help football gamblers gain a slight edge in their pursuit of the perfect wager. Email: [email protected]