This Sunday, Sunday, Sunday in sunny Cincinnati, there is a great match up between the (1-0) Chargers and the (1-0) Bengals.
The last time these two teams met in the regular season was in 2013, when the Bengals beat the chargers 17-10. The Chargers have also lost the last three regular season meetings between the two, but when they met in the playoffs in 2014 the Chargers’ defense stepped up and forced three turnovers in their 27-10 win.
Both the Chargers and the Bengals are currently in the top 15 in the NFL. The Chargers are sitting at the 11th position and the Bengals are at 7th in the NFL rankings.
This Sunday, both teams will have challenges and expectations to live up to. In one aspect, Chargers quarter back Phillip Rivers is coming off of a phenomenal week last Sunday against the Detroit Lions. Phillip Rivers went 35 of 42 for 404 yards and two touchdowns. The Chargers will be hoping that his high-quality performance will be repeated against the Bengals. Rivers will have to be careful though, as he will be going against fourth year pro George Iloka.
The Bengals believe Iloka is ready to be an elite safety in the NFL.
As McGuinness writes, “Iloka allowed a reception just once every 51.8 snaps in coverage [last season], the best mark in the league at safety. He also improved against the run, where he had a grade of +3.6 in 2014, after grading at -0.6 in 2013.”
This could mentally create some trouble for Rivers, as he knows he will be going against a safety that will test his ability as a quarterback.
One problem that has occurred for the Bengals though is that Iloka suffered an ankle injury during last week’s game against the Oakland Raiders. He has practiced the last couple of days, but he is still questionable for the game against the Chargers. If he does play there is a high chance his ankle won’t be 100 percent. The Chargers and Rivers could take advantage of this if the injury does affect Iloka’s play on Sunday.
On the other side of the ball, the Bengals offense has a lot of weapons. The Bengals have fifth year quarterback Andy Dalton leading the charge against the Chargers, along with the help of their aggressive run game led by running backs Jeremy Hill and Giovanni Bernard. Jeremy Hill had over 1,000 rushing yards last year as a rookie and is going to be a serious threat to the Chargers front line. The Chargers are not very strong when it comes to the run game, so if the Bengals get the run game going, the Chargers could be in for a long night.
Along with having to worry about the Bengals’ rushing attack, the Chargers will have to watch the talented young tight end Tyler Eifert, and of course the Bengals star receiver A.J. Green.
The Chargers are capable of winning this match up but they will have to control the run game, pressure Andy Dalton and shut down Eifert and Green.
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