We could have a blowout on our hands here, as the Los Angeles Chargers have opened as 14.0-point favorites over the Cincinnati Bengals in their Week 14 matchup at StubHub Center. Kickoff is set for 4:05pm EST on December 9th.
The best way to describe the Bengals’ offense is average. They own the league’s 18th-ranked passing attack and 28th-ranked rushing attack. But without any strength to lean on, Cincinnati’s so-so offense has had a tough time putting points on the board, averaging just 23.8 points per game (15th).
Andy Dalton served as the conductor of the mediocrity train until he suffered a season-ending thumb injury two weeks ago. Dalton thew for 2,566 yards and 21 touchdowns with 11 interceptions before giving way to backup Jeff Driskel, who is 48/74 for 475 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT on the season (86.3 passer rating).
Meanwhile, Joe Mixon has been rather uninspiring with the ball in his hands, totalling 755 yards on the ground. He will have to be better in ordre to take pressure off Driskel in Week 14.
The Bengals are going to need every point they can muster on Sunday, as their defense has been pathetic this season. The Bengals are giving up 30.9 points per game, which is the most in the NFL. It’s no surprise teams are having an easy time scoring on them, as they cannot stop the run or pass, ranking 32nd and 31st, respectively.
Cincinnati’s defense has their work cut out for them this week against a Los Angeles offense that looks nearly unstoppable. The Chargers are averaging 28.3 points per game (sixth) thanks to their ability to beat you both on the ground and through the air. They rank eighth in passing (274.3 yards per game) and 10th in rushing (125.2 yards per game).
Philip Rivers has been remarkable for Los Angeles this season, throwing for 3,418 yards with a 28:6 TD-to-INT ratio. He’s not only received great production from his pass-catchers, particularly Keenan Allen (996 receiving yards), but has also benefited from being able to count on the ground game to carry the load when necessary. Melvin Gordon has tallied 802 yards and nine touchdowns this year, making the Chargers’ offense a work of art.
Even if Gordon doesn’t return from the knee injury that kept him out of Week 13, Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson proved in last Sunday’s win over Pittsburgh (33-30) that they are more than capable of carrying the load.
Flipping to the other side of the ball, Los Angeles’s defense has been real stingy. They’re permitting just 20.8 points per game, ranking seventh in the league. This is what happens when your defense has no major flaws. The Chargers allow 104.0 yards per game on the ground (11th) and 230.9 through the air (10th). Jeff Driskel and company will not be handed anything this week.